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Kodi Lee, a 22-year-old blind singer with autism, was voted the latest winner of “America’s Got Talent.”
Lee, a Utah native, took home the prize of $1 million after winning the 14th season’s grand finals against the Detroit Youth Choir on Wednesday night, according to KSL.
On top of the prize money, Lee will also have the opportunity to headline shows at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas from November 7-10.
When Lee first auditioned for the show, his mother, Tina Lee, revealed that he was blind and has autism, making socializing and carrying a conversation difficult for the singer. However, his mother noted that he was born to be an entertainer.
“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,” the show’s judge Simon Cowell told Kodi and Tina after witnessing his performance. “Your voice is absolutely fantastic. You have a really beautiful tone, and thank you so much for trusting us on this show.”
Many viewers of “America’s Got Talent” were greatly moved by Lee’s story of how he overcame his blindness and autism as a self-taught child first making local headlines in 2008 when he was 11 years old.
Howie Mandel spoke to Entertainment Weekly after the show, saying they never had a “more buzzworthy or more viral moment than Kodi Lee stepping on our stage.”
“The moment he was introduced as this young man with autism who is blind who then sat down at the piano… it seemed like an eternity to the time he hits that first note. You go, ‘I just want this to be good. I don’t know what to expect!’ And then he opens his mouth and hits the keys — the roof is blown off the place,” he continued.
“Within 48 hours, there was a half-billion clicks internationally on every digital platform. We’ve never had anything that viral, that buzzworthy. From that point on I went, ‘This is the winner.’”
Featured Image Screenshot via YouTube / Talent Recap