Blind, autistic singer earns season’s first golden buzzer on America’s Got Talent

kodi_1558985397179-873772846.jpg

A singer and pianist from California received Gabrielle Union’s golden buzzer on Season 14 of America’s Got Talent.

Kodi Lee, 22, of Lake Elsinore, California performed Donny Hathaway’s ‘A Song For You.’

“I will tell you, all four judges and everybody in this room were up on their feet,” said Howie Mandel. “Not only do we feel the authenticity of what you do, but you’re a great inspiration and a great talent.”

“Everybody needs a voice and an expression. And I really feel your heart, your passion. Your voice blew all of us away. I just want to see, I heard you, I felt you and it was beautiful,” said Julianne Hough.

“I’m a new judge this season, and I’m also a new mom this year,” said Gabrielle Union. “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, the rainbows.”

“And tonight, I’m going to give you something special,” said Union, as the hit the golden buzzer.

According to his website, Lee is a blind and autistic musical prodigious savant. He is one of a handful of people in the world with his abilities.

“Born with optic nerve hypoplasia, surviving a life-saving surgery at 5 days old, and being diagnosed with autism at an early age has never stopped Kodi from reaching for his dreams,” his website says. He has an audio photographic memory, allowing him to recall music he hears after a single listen.

He says his dream is to be a rock star performing for thousands of fans.

During the audition rounds of America’s Got Talent, the golden buzzer allows each judge and the host to pass one performer directly to the live quarterfinal round without further deliberation.

Tonight’s golden buzzer was a first for Gabrielle Union, who joined the show this season along with Julianne Hough following the departure of Mel B. and Heidi Klum.

Judges Simon Cowell, Julianna Hough and Howie Mandel, as well as host Terry Crews each, have a golden buzzer remaining.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Stay up to date with the latest news by downloading the BRProud App from the App Store or Google Play.