TV singing competition shows often mine for emotional moments and storylines, but one young performer on this season of America’s Got Talent has already genuinely captured the hearts of the nation with one deeply moving audition.
Last week, Kodi Lee, a blind, autistic 22-year-old singer/pianist shocked both judges and the audience away with his jaw-dropping performance of Leon Russell‘s “A Song For You” during his America’s Got Talent audition. Lee took the stage with his mother, who explained that “we found out he loved music really early on. He listened and his eyes just went huge. He started singing and I was just in tears because 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,” Lee’s mother continued. “It actually has saved his life, playing music.”
While his condition is quickly apparent in his speech and mannerisms, he undergoes a transformation as soon as he takes his seat on the piano bench, turning in a performance that would surely make Russell—and just about everybody else—immensely proud.
The judges were so moved, in fact, that they greeted the performance with the show’s coveted “golden buzzer,” which guarantees Kodi a spot in America’s Got Talent‘s late-season live shows—and guarantees us at least one more chance to hear Kodi perform on TV. Good luck, Kodi! We’re rooting for you!
Take a few minutes to watch the judges’ jaws drop as the scene plays out. Kodi will leave you jumping and weeping for joy. We promise.
Kodi Lee – America’s Got Talent – “A Song For You” [Leon Russell cover]
[Video: America’s Got Talent]
Plenty of notable people were moved by the performance. Here’s just a few, as retweeted from Kodi’s account:
— Howie Mandel (@howiemandel) May 29, 2019
— Kodi Lee (@Kodileerocks) May 29, 2019
This child of God is a prodigy. Autism and blindness can’t erase the smile from the face of @KodiLeeRocks. Kodi has given HOPE, POWER, and HAPPINESS to those who feel marginalized because of who they are. Erase the DIS, highlight the ABILITY! @gabunion 👍🏾pic.twitter.com/dNDOZqKNhO
— terry crews (@terrycrews) May 29, 2019
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) May 29, 2019
— Kodi Lee (@Kodileerocks) May 30, 2019
— Kodi Lee (@Kodileerocks) May 31, 2019