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Youtube/America's Got Talent
Youtube/America's Got Talent

Gabrielle Union Gives Her First-Ever Golden Buzzer to Blind Autistic Singer on 'AGT'

Claudine Varela
May 31, 2019
10:38 A.M.

A 22-year-old blind autistic singer stunned judges on "America's Got Talent" and earned a golden buzzer from Gabrielle Union. It was the actress' first golden buzzer since joining the show this season.

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Gabrielle Union’s first season on “America’s Got Talent” was made extra special when she gave her first golden buzzer to a blind autistic contestant.

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AN IMPRESSIVE PERFORMANCE

22-year-old Kodi Lee from California walked into the stage on Tuesday assisted by his mother, Tina Lee. She led him to the piano where he impressed playing “A Song For You” and belting out its lyrics. A standing ovation followed his performance, validating his lifelong passion for music.

"He listened and his eyes went huge... And he started singing, and that's when I was in tears because I realized he is an entertainer."

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THE HARMONY OF MUSIC AND AUTISM

According to Tina, Kodi began registering an interest in music at a very young age. “He listened and his eyes went huge,” she says on the show. “And he started singing, and that's when I was in tears because I realized he is an entertainer.”

Tina said Kodi’s love for music became a means to cope with his autism. “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,” she explains. Tina adds “it has actually saved his life.”

"You just want to give your kids the moon the stars and the rainbows. And tonight, I'm going to give you something special.”

Armed with years of practice, Kodi impressed Gabrielle and her fellow judges Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, and fellow newcomer Julianne Hough. They were open-mouthed in shock after the young man completed his 40-second spine-tingling version of Leon Russell’s classic. Gabrielle and Julianne were in tears.

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GABRIELLE'S FIRST GOLDEN BUZZER

Simon described the performance as “really extraordinary” and a moment he’ll remember for the rest of his life.

“Any opportunity Kodi has to perform is a good day for him, and the bigger more energetic the audience, the more he loves to shine.”

Meanwhile, Gabrielle gave Kodi the greatest gift by slamming the golden buzzer for the first time.

“I'm a new judge this season, and I'm also a new mom this year," she 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. And tonight, I'm going to give you something special.”

At that, the actress rang the buzzer to the delight of Kodi and his family.

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ROCK STAR

Kodi was born with optic nerve hypoplasia and underwent surgery at five days old. He was soon diagnosed with autism. According to his website, his dream is to become a rock star.

“Any opportunity Kodi has to perform is a good day for him, and the bigger more energetic the audience, the more he loves to shine.”

It’s a blessing for Kodi that he’ll have more chances to shine as he proceeds to the next leg of his journey in “America’s Got Talent.”

PAINS OF BEING A NEWCOMER

Meanwhile, Gabrielle, as well as Julianne, has yet to prove she's up to the task of judging in the show which is now on its 14th season. There were mixed reactions when the show announced the two women were replacing Heidi Klum and Mel B. One fan even commented, "AG you made a big mistake. Can't replace two chicks with two nobodies."

This shouldn't keep Gabrielle from pushing forward. In fact, she told new host Terry Crews she felt like the "luckiest person in the world" by being part of the show. We're certain she'll prove her detractors wrong in the coming weeks.

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