Talent does not discriminate. It doesn’t matter if you’re young, old, beautiful or plain, if you’ve got talent it’s going to come shining through no matter what.
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When musician Kodi Lee made his way onto the “America’s Got Talent” stage with help from his mother, Tina Lee, the judges and audience weren’t quite sure what to expect. Kodi hardly looks the part of entertainer, but once again we’re reminded to never judge a book by its cover!
The first episode of season 14 brings several changes, most notably the addition of new judges Julianne Hough and Gabrielle Union. After watching Kodi’s incredible performance, we’re pulling for this being the first season when an autistic blind man wins it all.
“Kodi is blind and autistic,” explained Kodi’s mom Tina. “We found out that he loved music really early on. He listened and his eyes just went huge, and he started singing, that’s when I was in tears. I realized 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. It actually has saved his life playing music.”
While it may seem like hyperbole to say that music “saved his life,” you might think differently once you hear this twenty-two-year-old sing and play.
“I’m going to sing a song for you on the piano,” Kodi told the judges before moving to the piano bench. Tina crouched next to him to offer him motivation before he began to play and you can see the resolve on his face as he begins to play. The second he opens his mouth and begins to sing you can see the shock registering on the faces of all who heard him.
Kodi’s voice is incredibly soulful as he sings Leon Russell’s “A Song for You.” The performance was as poignant as it was surprising, and before long there wasn’t a dry eye in the house! New judge Julianne seemed especially moved as she wiped away tears throughout the song.
When Kodi finished his song the judges couldn’t wait to congratulate him on his performance. “Not only did we feel the authority of what you do, but you’re a great inspiration and a great talent,” said veteran judge Howie Mandel. “It was amazing.”
Normally reserved judge Simon Cowell was positively gushing over Kodi, calling him, “extraordinary.”
“You have a really beautiful tone,” Simon said. “Thank you so much for trusting us on this show. I’m going to remember this moment for the rest of my life.”
Julianne had similarly effusive remarks, but it was Gabrielle, who recently welcomed daughter Kaavia to her family, whose comments stole the show.
“I’m a new judge this season and I’m also a new mom this year. It’s the toughest job I’ve ever had and the most rewarding job I’ve ever had,” she said. “You just want to give your kids the moon, the stars and the rainbows. Tonight, I’m going to give you something special.”
That’s when Gabrielle reached forward and mashed the coveted Golden Buzzer for the first time during her tenure on AGT!
The Golden Buzzer sends a contestant to the final rounds of competition. The audience erupted with cheers as Kodi and Tina stood in awe amidst golden confetti. “You just changed the world!” Gabrielle told the ecstatic family as they flooded Kodi with hugs and kisses on stage.
Kodi has the kind of pure talent that you’re simply born with, and it’s wonderful to see someone overcome all of these odds to find success on a national television show. With more contestants like Kodi, perhaps people will be able to look beyond disabilities to see the individual abilities that we’re all blessed with.
Watch the video below and be sure to share to congratulate Kodi on his big win!
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