Kodi Lee, Singing Phenom Who Is Blind and Has Autism, 22, Wins America's Got Talent Season 14
America's Got Talent airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on NBC
Kodi Lee is the winner of America’s Got Talent!
After weeks of competition, Lee has been crowned the champion of season 14. On Wednesday’s episode, the star bested fellow finalists opera singer Emanne Beasha, violinist Tyler Butler-Figueroa, dance troupe Light Balance Kids, singer Benicio Bryant and Ndlovu Youth Choir.
Quartet Voices of Service (fifth place), dance troupe V. Unbeatable (fourth place), comedian Ryan Niemiller (third place), and the Detroit Youth Choir (second place) made it into the top 5.
In addition to the honor of being the winner, Lee takes home $1 million and headlining shows from Nov. 7-10 at Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Lee immediately captivated the audience and judges with his viral audition during which he blew everyone away with his rendition of Donny Hathaway’s “A Song for You.” Gabrielle Union was so impressed that she gifted the 22-year-old singer with her Golden Buzzer.
Along with his unforgettable vocal talents, Lee’s life story has made him a fan favorite. The Lake Elsinore, California, native was born with optic nerve hypoplasia and diagnosed with autism at age 4. His mother Tina accompanied him on stage for the entire competition.
“He’s making people believe in something they didn’t even know is attainable. He’s magic,” Union previously told PEOPLE of Lee.
The L.A.’s Finest actress’ Golden Buzzer advanced Lee to the quarterfinals, where he performed Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” which Paul Simon had approved the music rights of after seeing Lee’s audition.
Then in the semifinals, Lee brought many to tears with his rendition of Calum Scott’s “You Are the Reason.” For his final bow on the show, he sang Freya Ridings’ “Lost Without You” in the finals. On finale night, Lee performed “You Are the Reason” again, this time alongside Leona Lewis.
“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,” mom Tina recently told PEOPLE.
During the audition rounds, the loving parent explained how her son communicates through 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,” Tina said. “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.”
America’s Got Talent finale airs Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on NBC.