‘America’s Got Talent’: Blind and Autistic Contestant Kodi Lee Takes Home Golden Buzzer After Moving Judges to Tears

If you haven’t seen the latest episode of America’s Got Talent, then it’s time to break out the tissues. Contestant Kodi Lee is becoming the most talked about performance of the season thanks to his incredible rendition of Donny Hathaway’s ‘A Song for You.’ There was barely a dry eye in the house and just about everyone gave the young performer a standing ovation.

It wasn’t just the audience who reacted strongly to the song—even the panel of judges were wiping away tears and trying to conceal their shocked faces. Simon Cowell admitted that he’d “remember the moment” for the rest of his life. And Gabrielle Union? After explaining that she had also become a new mom recently, she awarded Lee with the first Golden Buzzer of the 2019 season.

The performance was a truly emotional experience to witness.

Who is Kodi Lee?

Kodi Lee came out on stage with his mother Tina Lee right by his side. The 22-year-old contestant is blind and autistic, but that never stopped him from living his dream. As his mother explains, Kodi has shown an interest in music since an early age and she could tell that her son was an “entertainer.”

“We found out that he loved music really early on,” Kodi’s mom Tina explained Kodi’s before his performance. “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 everyone else does. It actually has saved his life, playing music.”

Lee has an unnatural aptitude for music. According to Heavy.com, he’s one of just 25 people in the world with the extraordinary gift of perfect pitch and an audio photographic memory, which means he can recall music after hearing a song just one time. Kodi Lee plays six musical instruments and also tap dances. He performs at different venues near his Southern California home.

The judges were blown away by Kodi’s performance

The looks on the judges’ faces were priceless once Kodi began to sing and play the piano. Though he had a little difficulty while speaking, Kodi’s voice didn’t waver once while he was singing. The judges were incredibly moved by his undeniable talent.

“Not only do we feel the authenticity of what you do but you’re a great inspiration and a great talent. It was amazing,” Howie Mandel said. “Your voice blew us all away,” Julianne Hough agreed. “I heard you, I felt you and it was beautiful.”

And as for notorious skeptic Simon Cowell? He was also impressed. “What just happened there was extraordinary,” Cowell said. “Your voice is absolutely fantastic; you have a really beautiful tone. Thank you so much for trusting us on this show. I’m going to remember this moment for the rest of my life.”

Kodi Lee earned a Golden Buzzer from Gabrielle Union

The Golden Buzzer is used during America’s Got Talent for judges to automatically send an act to live shows regardless of what other judges think. After Gabrielle Union heard the performance, she hit the buzzer while wiping away tears.

That golden confetti raining down only added some drama to that beautiful moment. We wish all the best to Kodi Lee and his family—he deserves it!