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Tongue Cancer Survivor’s Moving “X Factor” Performance

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Just 16 months ago, doctors were telling Karl Dimachki that he would never sing again. Diagnosed with tongue cancer, the 31-year-old Australian construction worker had his lymph nodes and half of his tongue removed. But Tuesday night, Dimachki wowed judges and the audience with a heartwarming rendition of Lionel Richie's "Hello" on the Australian version of "The X Factor."

Standing onstage and appearing overwhelmed, Dimachki addressed the crowd before his audition: "I never really thought that I would actually come this far, because of my previous cancer that I went through. It was about a year and a half ago."

When the judges asked what kind of cancer he'd battled, Dimachki described his operation, making it clear how far he'd come to stand on the "X Factor" stage.

"The doctors actually told me, 'You won't be able to sing again, you won't be able to talk properly, it's going to take at least 3-4 years where you're going to see some improvement.' But here I am -- I'm here!" Dimachki said excitedly.

The crowd cheered as Dimachki sang the classic love song and it was clear that he was putting his heart and soul into it. More than a couple people wept during his performance, and Dimachki himself was a little misty as he sang.

After his performance -- which, despite being very moving, wasn't without its imperfections -- Dimachki received mostly positive reactions from the judges. It was clear they were affected by his emotional story and song.

But there was a moment of tension when judge Kyle Sandilands voted against him. Judge Natalie Imbruglia (the pop singer best known for her song "Torn") fought tears before giving her "yes" vote. It was left up to judge and former Boyzone pinup, Ronan Keating, to make the final decision, which he delayed with classic reality-TV competition suspense. Finally, Keating broke the tension, saying: "We'll see you in Boot Camp, Karl. Welcome." The crowd went wild.

[Video: Another pint-sized performer stuns TV audience]

As for the performer himself, Dimachki said in his "X Factor" introduction clip: "I'm just here to prove a point: If you have a dream, go on and do it, 'cause God will always put a hero inside you."

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