Kodi Lee blew people away with his amazing performance right from the get-go. His win proves that no disability can limit you from achieving what you want.
After weeks of tough competition, Kodi Lee came out on top and was crowned the winner of America’s Got Talent season 14! Wednesday's episode saw the 22-year-old compete with opera singer Emanne Beasha, dance troupe Light Balance Kids, violinist Tyler Butler-Figueroa, singer Benicio Bryant and Ndlovu Youth Choir in the finals. Apart from winning the prestigious title on the popular show, Lee also took home a whopping $1 million in prize money. He will be soon headlining shows at Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas from November 7-10 reports PEOPLE.
It didn't take Lee long to make a special place in America's heart. Captivating his audience and the judges with a powerful rendition of Donny Hathaway’s A Song for You, the talented singer blew everyone away. However, his impactful singing left a deeper mark on one of the judges, Gabrielle Union, who couldn't help but press the Golden Buzzer for Lee sending him straight to the quarterfinals. Apart from the 22-year-old's amazing vocal skills, the story of his life was definitely a factor that made him a fan favorite.
A native of Lake Elsinore, California, Lee was born with optic nerve hypoplasia and was later diagnosed with autism at the age of 4. Unwilling to let his physical drawback come in the way of his dreams, he confidently went on to the stage of America's Got Talent with his mother, Tina, by his side throughout the competition. "He’s making people believe in something they didn’t even know is attainable. He’s magic," said actress Union of Lee previously during an interview with PEOPLE.
Moreover, the 46-year-old actress previously predicted Lee's success and expressed how the young singer was already on his way to change the world. "Aside from reaching through people’s televisions, snatching their hearts out and making people feel something they never felt before, he changes the world," she added. He became a viral sensation after his AGT audition video garnered over 42 million views on YouTube. "There are a lot of people in the world we put limits on. We say, ‘This is what’s good for you.’ We hold people back with our shortsighted thinking and our bigoted views. You have a family like Kodi’s who supports him and sees the beauty and the immense talent. They fought for those resources," explained Union.
"Kodi’s family fought to make sure that he had a stage to be brilliant on — whether that stage was in their living room or on the world’s biggest talent show," she added. Urging families to encourage their children no matter what their limitations are, Union expressed how any dream could be achieved with the love and unwavering support of one's family. "Stop holding your kids back, stop holding each other back. There’s so much more greatness that we can achieve if we actually believe in each other."
"I feel relieved I’m not the only one who’s seen this extraordinary ability. He’s got a real talent, and I’ve always known he’s this real talent," said Tina, the proud mother of her Lee. During the quarterfinals, Lee left everyone speechless while performing Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water, and then he brought everyone to tears with his powerful rendition of Calum Scott’s You Are the Reason. He chose Freya Ridings’ Lost Without You for his final performance and got the opportunity to perform You Are the Reason once again with British singer-songwriter Leona Lewis.
In the due course of the competition, Tina Lee explained how her son communicates via music. "We found out that he loved music really early on. He listened and his eyes just went huge, and he started singing, that’s when I was in tears," she said adding, "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 has saved his life playing music."