"I think he's been holding this in to give it all to the world," Kodi Lee's mother Tina tells PEOPLE

By Karen Mizoguchi
September 04, 2019 09:00 PM

America’s Got Talent fan-favorite singer Kodi Lee is heading to the finals!

The 22-year-old singer, who was born with optic nerve hypoplasia and diagnosed with autism at age 4, continues to prove that he is more than an inspiring story with his breathtaking renditions of iconic ballads.

And expect more from him in the finals, his mother Tina tells PEOPLE.

“He’s always had this boost of energy. I think he’s been holding this in to give it all to the world,” the proud parent says about her son’s boost in confidence and showmanship throughout this season.

“I think what he’s receiving in return is what he’s been looking for. He’s always had this talent, this raw, pure talent, that he’s been wanting to show to the world,” she says of her child, who is Gabrielle Union’s Golden Buzzer winner.

" Episode 1418 -- Pictured: Kodi Lee -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC

Union, 46, told PEOPLE that Kodi “will change the world” with his talent and his story — and Tina reveals audiences are changing his world in return.

“And actually I see the change that he’s getting something back from them, that’s what has been amazing. It’s almost like he’s changing the world, he is changing the world. But at the same time, it’s changing him. It’s beautiful,” says Tina.

RELATED: AGT’s Kodi Lee, Singer Who Brought Gabrielle Union to Tears, ‘Never Expected Fame to Happen’

“It’s so wonderful because what the supporters are doing, even though he’s inspiring them, they don’t realize that they’re inspiring him,” Tina shares. “He has a hard time communicating but reading their comments is actually helping him to understand how they are feeling. It’s like he’s starting to understand more of what they’re saying. He’s really trying to communicate.”

Paul Lee/NBC

Union proudly praised Kodi after the semifinals. “He keeps topping himself,” the actress said, adding, “He’s got so much more to offer. I think we’re really looking at the tip of the iceberg. He really is changing the world, he’s really shifting the culture.”

In the finals, Lee will face off against violinist Tyler Butler-Figueroa (Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer choice), dance troupe Light Balance Kids (guest judge Ellie Kemper’s Golden Buzzer choice), singer Benicio Bryant and Ndlovu Youth Choir.

America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on NBC.

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