‘America’s Got Talent’ Singer Kodi Lee Gets Season’s First Golden Buzzer

May 30, 2019 Updated: May 30, 2019

Pianist and singer Kodi Lee was met with a standing ovation and the golden buzzer for his performance on Season 14 of “America’s Got Talent.”

Lee, who is blind and has autism, stunned the crowd with a flawless cover of Donny Hathaway’s “A Song For You.”

The 22-year-old contestant was accompanied on stage by his mom, who gave him a pep talk before he shocked the judges and crowd with his voice and piano playing skills.

“We found out that he loved music really early on,” Lee’s mom, Tina, told the crowd. “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.”

The judges already seemed impressed by Kodi’s story and his animated nature, but were even more impressed by what came next.

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Kodi started to play the piano. When he opened his mouth and started singing, judge Simon Cowell’s jaw dropped, with an expression on his face of bewilderment. Gabrielle Union turned to look at the other judges, with an expression of amazement.

Judge Julianne Hough had a very intense look on her face, her jaw likewise hanging open. Further into the performance she shed tears.

“I know everybody needs a voice and an expression. I really feel your heart, your passion. Your voice blew all of us away,” Julianne Hough told Kodi after the performance.

“Listen, what just happened there was extraordinary. I mean, really extraordinary,” said Cowell. “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.”

Gabrielle Union saved the best for last, slamming down on the golden buzzer for Lee, the first of the 2019 season and advancing Lee straight to the finals.

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Kodi Lee has the the rare talent of an audio photographic memory, according to his website. The ability helps him to recall an entire musical composition after one listen.

He plays classical music, R&B, rock, jazz, and pop, according to his website. He has played music all around the world. He even received an invitation to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York.

His website features places he will be performing from June to December. The show dates are all for venues in California, his home state.

NTD Reporter Colin Fredericson contributed to this report.

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