It wouldn’t be “America’s Got Talent” without a Golden Buzzer, and Tuesday’s Season 14 premiere was no exception. During the two-hour episode, judges Gabrielle Union, Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel and Julianne Hough met a singer/pianist named Kodi Lee. As his mother explained to the judges, Kodi was born blind and autistic. “We found out that he loved music really early on,” she stated. “He listened and his eyes just went huge and he started singing. That’s when I realized, oh my gosh, he’s an entertainer.” Watch Kodi’s “AGT” performance video above.
Before Kodi’s performance, his mom gave the judges a little more context for Kodi’s love of music. “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. It actually has saved his life, playing music,” she said.
“I’m ready!” Kodi shouted before being escorted over to the piano. He then belted out a flawless rendition of Donny Hathaway‘s “A Song for You,” complete with riffs and pitch-perfect melodies. Julianne wiped tears from her eyes as the judges jumped to their feet. Howie called Kodi a “great inspiration” and a “great talent.” Julianne raved, “I really feel your heart, your passion, your voice.” Simon proclaimed, “What just happened there was extraordinary.”
Gabrielle then made Kodi’s biggest dream come true when she pushed the Golden Buzzer for him. “I’m a new judge this season and I’m also a new mom this year,” she began. “It’s the toughest job I’ve ever had and the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. You just want to give your kids the moon, the stars and the rainbows. And tonight I’m gonna give you something special.” Cue the golden confetti!
In his “AGT” live blog, our recapper John Benutty had this to say about the performance: “The final act of the premiere was singer and pianist Kodi Lee. On stage with his mother who told the story of how although he’s blind and autistic, Kodi reacted to and learned music very early on in his life to positive results, ultimately saving his life. For his audition, he played the piano and sang Donny Hathaway’s ‘A Song for You,’ bringing tears to Julianne, Gabrielle and Howie’s eyes and earning a raving ovation from everyone in the room.”