Valley News -

By Jeff Pack

Local musician gets Golden Buzzer on 'America's Got Talent'


Last updated 6/3/2019 at 3:15pm

Trae Patton/NBC

Kodi Lee and his mother Tina react after 'America's Got Talent' judge Gabrielle Union awarded Kodi with the Golden Buzzer, sending him directly to the live shows in Hollywood in August.

Local musician Kodi Lee's performance on NBC's "America's Got Talent" on Tuesday, May 28 made such an impact on judge Gabrielle Union that the actress awarded Lee with the Golden Buzzer, which sends him to the live shows in Hollywood.

Kodi, who attended Elsinore High School and is blind and autistic, was introduced to the judges and audience by his mother, Tina, sat down at the piano and performed a cover of Donny Hathaway's "A Song For You."

When he was done, the crowd and judges all leapt to their feet.

"First of all, I will tell you that all four judges and everyone in here were up on their feet," said Howie Mandel. "Not only did we feel the authenticity of what you do, but you're a great inspiration and a great talent. It was amazing."

"Everybody needs a voice and an expression," said Julianna Hough. "I really feel your heart, your passion, your voice blew everyone away, it was fantastic. I just want to say, I heard you, I felt you and it was beautiful."

"What just happened there, was extraordinary, I mean really extraordinary," said Simon Cowell. "I don't know what it's like to live in Kodi's world, all I can tell is you have an amazing relationship, the two of you. Your voice is absolutely fantastic. You have a really beautiful tone.

"Thank you so much for trusting us on this show. I'm going to remember this moment for the rest of my life."

"I'm a new judge this season and also a new mom this year," Union said. "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. Tonight, I'm going to give you something special ...."

Union then reached over and hit her Golden Buzzer.

Courtesy of NBC

At that moment, the crowd erupted, Union ran on stage and Kodi's family and friends raced out to join him.

"You just changed the world," Union told Lee backstage. "You just changed the world."

In another interview called the Golden Buzzer Reactions, Kodi said, "I'm so excited. ... I will never forget that moment.

"I want to be a rockstar, I want to perform for millions of people."

It is not clear when Kodi will perform next on the show, which airs Tuesdays on NBC, but the Golden Buzzer means he will go straight to the live shows to compete for the overall title and the $1 million prize.

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at [email protected]


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