This Singer Who Is Blind and Autistic Brought the ‘America’s Got Talent’ Judges—and Us—to Tears

Every so often, a performer auditions for a show like America's Got Talent and stops the entire room in its tracks. 

That's precisely what happened when 22-year-old Kodi Lee took to the stage last night. 

Lee was escorted onto the stage by his mother, Tina Lee, who introduced her son—who is blind and autistic—to the judges and audience. "We found out that he loved music really early on—he listened and his eyes just went huge," she explained. "And when he started singing, that's when I was in tears, because that's when I realized, 'Oh, my gosh! He's an entertainer.'"

Soon enough, the entire room was in tears. Seated at a piano, Kodi began playing Leon Russell's "A Song for You." His soulful, bluesy rendition dropped jaws pretty much immediately.

By the end of the song, all four judges—Simon Cowell, Gabrielle Union, Howie Mandel and Julianne Hough—were out of their seats, joining the audience in a standing ovation for Lee. 

Union seemed particularly moved, telling Kodi's mom, "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. You just want to give your kids the moon, the stars and the rainbows, and tonight, I'm going to give you something special."

She then hit the Golden Buzzer for the first time, which guaranteed Kodi a spot in the show's live Hollywood rounds.  

So talented. So inspiring. 

sarah stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...