Audiences love an underdog, and Kodi Lee hasn’t had an easy life. The 22-year-old singer and musician lives with both autism and blindness. Still, neither of those disabilities stopped him from winning over the audience and judges of America’s Got Talent.
With a soul-wrenching, vocally powerful rendition of Donny Hathaway’s “A Song For You,” Lee brought down the house. Even the famously tart-tongued judge Simon Cowell was absolutely floored, remarking “Extraordinary.” Fellow judges Howie Mandell and Julianne Hough were also deeply moved with Hough even starting to cry.
Not wasting anymore time, Gabrielle Union hit the highly auspicious and coveted Golden Buzzer. Reserved only for the best of the best, the grand gesture instantly earned Lee a spot in the finals of the competition.
Tina, Lee’s proud mother, couldn’t contain her own happiness. Also tearing up with joy, she told viewers “We found out that he loved music really early on.”
She added that music effectively allowed her son to find happiness and a reason to keep going in spite of his challenges, recounting “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.”
In just a couple days, the YouTube video recording of Lee’s achievement reached over 13.6 million views and 608,000 Likes. Thousands of viewers wished Lee well and commended his bravery and hardwork. Some netizens believe Lee is a favorite to win the contest. Others questioned those who had disliked the video.
Celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Ellen Degeneres, and Terry Crews all lavished praise on the young musician on social media.
— Kodi Lee (@Kodileerocks) May 29, 2019
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) May 29, 2019
Union seems delighted with her choice, believing that Lee has a bright future ahead of him. HisTwitter followers are ballooning accordingly.
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) May 29, 2019
— Kodi Lee (@Kodileerocks) May 30, 2019
Keep singing, Kodi!