Blind Singer with Autism Blows Away ‘America’s Got Talent’ Judges, Audience with Golden Buzzer Performance

A 22-year-old singer, assisted by his mother and a cane as he walked on stage, may have given one of the most memorable performances yet on “America’s Got Talent.”

Kodi Lee is blind and has autism.

His mother, Tina, told the show’s judges that he loved music “really early on.”

“He listened, and his eyes just went huge, and he started singing,” she said. “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 saved his life playing music.”

She assisted her son to the piano, and he performed a rendition of “A Song for You” by Donny Hathaway.

All four judges, along with everyone else in the room, were on their feet when he was finished. Judge Gabrielle Union hit the Golden Buzzer, meaning he’ll advance right to the live shows.

“What just happened there was extraordinary,” said judge Simon Cowell. “I’m going to remember this moment for the rest of my life.”


  • Diane Rau

    The audience stood up because the blind singer OVERCAME his disability. Furthermore, that makes him a courageous individual, not an sniveling name caller.

    • Fractal Kaleidoscope Spiral (@SpiralFractal)

      Oh, please, spare me the crap about how a disabled person “overcame” his disability. A disability isn’t the end of the world. I’ve been handicapped for over 40 years, and my primary income came from the arts. I degrees in psychology & music, I performed as a singer/voice actor since the age of 14 (four years before my injury), I’ve worked as a radio personality, and I’ve also been publishing my writing since age 17. None of my talent had anything to do with my handicap, and I’m sick of idiots who treat me like I’m some kind of performing circus act simply because I use a medical device for transportation. I ride in my wheelchair but it is NOT who I am! And patronizing those with disabilities just illustrates the unconscious arrogance of the able-bodied. We will never be on equal footing with other Americans as long as people like you keep spouting that crap about how “inspiring” we are. We’re just people living our lives, no different from you except that our bodies are less perfect than those who claim to be “normal.” And until you realize that and stop treating us like we’ve accomplished some kind of miracle just by living our lives, the disabled will always be marginalized. And people like YOU are the ones marginalizing us by making such a big deal about our disabilities instead of our ABILITIES. You aren’t perfect, either, so how would you like it if everyone you met defined you by your imperfections? Maybe if the able-bodied would just stop obsessing over our physical defects and denying us the same opportunities as you, we wouldn’t have to “overcome” our disabilities anymore.

  • Bob Stevens

    Lets be honest, how good he is really doesn’t matter with AGT, its always been about who has the best sob story with these “talent” shows… he would just be another singer without the story, and the story is all they care about, because the story sells ratings.

    • Szymon Wolowiec

      you sir are heartless. ” Mr. Bob Stevens, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

      • Bob Stevens

        You all know its true… there are countless times that the better performer was passed over for the better sob story.
        His story doesn’t take away from his talent, but it should be based on the talent, not the story. Has nothing to do with being heartless, I’m just tired of these reality shows being a contest of who jerks more tears and not who has the best talent. Its ‘Americas Got Talent’, not ‘Americas Got A Sad Story But Look at What I can do Also’.
        Your response is also utterly stupid. For one, where is that quote even coming from, that’s not how quotes work. I wrote a plain and simple fact in sentence form. Its easy to understand unless you’re a mindless shill for these bread and circus reality shows distracting you from the true reality.
        I bet you complain about tornado warning interrupting your bachelorette too…

      • Desmond Tmkad Gayle

        I just want to say this…Bob Stevens made a good point. I’ve been working and advocating for/with the disability community for almost 20 years now. right now many in the disability community are protesting this type of treatment because its really saying “hey look this guy with a disability singing and playing the piano” when it should be saying this guy is talented and thats it. what you have to understand is this, people are seeing him for his disability first before his talent and that is not a good thing to do. if you talk to people with disabilities many will tell you that they hate that type of special treatment. He has talent but the focus is on his disability first. He is a human being and not a sob story. His disability that he was born with is part of his identity and not something to be used for ratings and a story. Since forever people with disabilities have either been mistreated or been given extra special treatment which makes many feel like they are being treated like a child or a sob story. i wouldn’t want people always feeling bad for me, would you? A buddy of mine was just talking about this exact thing a few weeks ago. He is blind and had a brain injury during birth which causes him to have difficulty recalling information. He started performing when he realized that through music his difficulty recalling and speaking just melted away when he performed. When he performs especially in contest formats he always wins. And he feels he always wins not because of his talent but because of his disability. He hardly ever gets an honest critique of his music, and that is the sad part. From what he said I was the very first person he feels that ever looked past his disability and gave him an honest critique. thats where our friendship began. He doesnt want people to feel bad for him. His disability is part of who he is and he just wants to live his life like everyone else…good times and hardship. Movies/TV tend to do this all the time to the disability population to gain pity ratings. Having a disability doesn’t mean you should pity someone. while some people look at him and are saying “omg i cant believe a blind guy with autism has this talent” another view could be that because he is blind and has autism that is helped flourish this talent. Bob’s response sounds like a person who understands that people disabilities dont always want special treatment. On another note…many times parents are the main people to treat their children with special treatment because of their disability.

      • Fractal Kaleidoscope Spiral (@SpiralFractal)

        I’d like to say “Thank you” to Desmond Gayle. I was about to make that same point. I was injured in a vehicle collision at age 18. I was already pursuing a degree in performance art, and after suffering TBI & SCI, I rejected the ‘opportunity’ to collect SSA and focused on my career instead. My talent has NOTHING to do with my handicap (yes, there IS a difference between a disability & a handicap) and at age 60, I’m SICK of the able-bodied considering my wheelchair as my sole identity. Even if the able-bodied don’t know I’m an entertainer, the wheelchair is how they define me. All of them start relating their health issues as soon as we meet, as if expecting me to feel sorry for THEM. Or they tell me how they spent 2 weeks using a transport chair for a sprained ankle, so they “know what it’s like to be in a wheelchair.” (I always say, “No, you don’t, because you knew it wasn’t permanent so it was just a game to you.”) Or they tell me about their acquaintance who uses a wheelchair, which is no different from a racist claiming they’re not prejudiced because they have “a friend who’s black.” As long as the able-bodied treat us as pets or, worse yet, performing freaks, people like myself will always be viewed as ‘less than human.’ Patronizing us because of our disability only sets us further apart from the mainstream. And please, cut the crap about how my life “inspires” you! No, god didn’t make me disabled in order to inspire the able-bodied. This is my LIFE, not some Hallmark television movie designed to uplift or teach someone else. I started out just like you, and I’m still the same inside, even if my legs don’t hold me up anymore. Stop acting like anything I accomplished is some kind of “triumph over adversity.”

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