Stealing the Show


Clara Cianfarano

Kodi Lee performing in the semifinals on America’s Got Talent (Photo credits to Clara Cianfarano).

Twenty-two year old America’s Got Talent contestant Kodi Lee has stolen the hearts of the nation with his musical talents. He was born with optic nerve hypoplasia, which caused him to go legally blind at three months old, and he was also diagnosed with autism at age four. However, neither of these obstacles he has faced hold him back from following his dreams. He has an audio photographic memory, allowing him to easily recall music after listening to it once.  This makes the fact that he’s legally blind and has autism to be almost forgotten as people focus on his talents instead. Kodi Lee never fails to inspire America week after week.

“He defies the odds. He stuns everyone with his talents of singing and [playing the] piano and absolutely blows everyone away,” said J.L. Mann student Kaylee Wolf.

During his first audition for the show, he swept everyone off their feet and blew them away. When he began singing, he took everyone by surprise. His voice filled the room. Everyone watched in amazement and beheld the angelicness of his voice. Lee impressed Gabrielle Union, a judge on the show, so much that she hit the golden buzzer for him, sending him straight to the live shows.

In his quarterfinals performance, he performed the song “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel. Paul Simon never lets anyone ever sing or perform this song, however, he was so impressed and inspired by Lee that he immediately gave him permission to sing the song. Lee sat down, piano in front of him, and unleashed the beauty that is his voice as he sang. Without a doubt, he left the world in awe yet again. Each week, he continues to be a fan favorite and is sent straight through to the next round. 

Kodi Lee’s mother, Tina Lee, told People Magazine,“It’s so nice to see to see [audiences] enjoy his talent and not look at his disabilities. They see the real, real extraordinary talent in him.”

Kodi Lee constantly breaks down stereotypes and societal barriers just by singing. He proves that anyone with any sort of condition that may seem limiting has no limits. As soon as he steps foot on stage, he puts his disabilities behind him and focuses on the music. The twenty-two year old always brings the judges to tears by the end of his performances. Lee captivates his audience and all goes silent as America and the world take in the beauty of his voice. Its strength and power causes the audience to get emotional chills each time they watch him perform.

“[He] goes to show that disabilities cannot restrict a person from doing anything,” said Wolf.

The perseverance and strength that he has, encourages people to keep going through the hard times. Even when faced with adversity, there is nothing that can or will stop him in his musical journey. His strength and happy spirit shine through in his voice and its power is contagious.

“Kodi Lee has shown everyone that even with challenges, anything can be done. His disabilities didn’t hold him back, so everyone is capable of achieving goals or conquering challenges, even if faced with disabilities,” said Brashier senior Maddie Gagne.