Kodi Lee is an incredibly talented young singer and pianist whose performance on America’s Got Talent floored the judges and the audience at the start of its 14th season.
The 22-year-old musician was joined by his mother, Tina, on stage during his introduction.
When asked what he was going to do for the judges today, Kodi responded, “I’m going to sing ‘A Song For You’ on the piano.”
Then Tina gave the audience and the judges a bit of background info on her son.
“Kodi is blind and autistic,” she said. “We found out that he loved music really early on. He listened and his eyes just went huge. And he started singing, and that’s when I just — I was in tears, ’cause that’s when I realized, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s an entertainer.'”
“Through music and performing, he was able to withstand living in this world, because when you’re autistic, it’s really hard to do what everybody else does,” she continued. “It actually has saved his life, playing music.”
Tina and Kodi moved to the piano, and she crouched down next to him.
“This is your time, okay?” she said. “You ready?
“Yeah!” he said.
The performance hall grew quiet as he settled in at the piano. Then, he began to play Leon Russell’s “A Song For You.”
His voice is just gorgeous; it’s soulful and expressive, and his falsetto is sweet and effortless and graceful.
The four judges — Howie Mandel, Gabrielle Union, Julianne Hough, and Simon Cowell — all had a look of stunned amazement on their faces.
As he sang, it became clear that not only was he a talented musician, but he had a passion for making music. His heartfelt performance resonated with the audience and judges alike, and drew many people to tears — including Hough and Union.
After Mandel, Hough, and Cowell gave their glowing remarks, Union said her piece and then gave Kodi the first golden buzzer of the show, triggering a cascade of golden confetti and an eruption of cheers.
It was Season 14’s first golden buzzer, which gives Kodi an express ticket to the midsummer live shows.
Other members of his family and the judges joined Kodi on stage, offering hugs and congratulations to the talented musician. Kodi clapped and grinned and even cried a little, over the moon about winning the judges’ praise.
Watch Kodi’s stunning performance in this video.
America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
C. Dixon likes to read, sing, eat, drink, write, and other verbs. She enjoys cavorting around the country to visit loved ones and experience new places, but especially likes to be at home with her husband, son, and dog.