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TV LAND — Kodi Lee is a star.
During Tuesday’s airing of “America’s Got Talent,” the world got to see it. Lee, who now lives in California but grew up in Tooele, is blind and has autism, his mother, Tina, told the judges.
After a few introductions, Lee sat down at a piano and proceeded to sing a touching rendition of Donny Hathaway’s “A Song For You” that brought tears, chills and the entire crowd to their feet.
You can watch his performance here.
“I don’t know what it’s like to live in Kodi’s world. All I can tell is you obviously have an amazing relationship, the two of you,” judge Simon Cowell told Kodi and Tina after the performance. “Your voice is absolutely fantastic. You have a really beautiful tone, and thank you so much for trusting us on this show.”
Moments later, the show’s newest judge, actress Gabrielle Union, pushed the show’s golden buzzer, which automatically sent Lee to “America’s Got Talent” live shows later in the season. All four judges then walked to the stage to hug the Lees and congratulate them.
“You just changed the world,” Union added.
Lee’s name may sound familiar to some Utahns. Back in 2008, KSL TV reporter Ed Yeates featured Lee's story. At that point in time, he was an 11-year-old living in Tooele and blowing people away with his musical talent. Despite being born with multiple disabilities, he had already become a musical savant before he was even a teenager. The most amazing part? He didn’t learn to play the piano with books or teaching, but his natural abilities.
“You ask him to carry a simple conversation, and he just can't do it,” Tina Lee said at the time. "The minute you put him on stage, it's like he turns a hat and he's a professional."
Eleven years after that story aired, it’s clear his ability is just as strong as ever.