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Kodi Lee Earns Another Golden Buzzer with a Tribute to His Mom That’ll Make You Cry

Kodi Lee's Semifinals musical love letter to his Mom was a Golden Buzzer triumph that changed the dynamics of the competition.

By Joe Dziemianowicz

“You just be you because you’re the best!”

How to Watch

Watch America’s Got Talent: Fantasy League on NBC and Peacock.

That’s what Simon Cowell told his Dream Team member Kodi Lee before the pianist and vocalist’s Semifinals performance on America’s Got Talent: Fantasy League

Kodi, a singer from California who is autistic and blind, sang his heart-stirring ballad inspired by his mother, Tina. It was the latest of Lee's performances on AGT: Fantasy League in which he's opted to sing his original music for the crowd and Judges. 

Kodi, who won AGT Season 14 following a Golden Buzzer by Gabrielle Union, the performance was a glittering triumph – and a total jaw-dropper.  

As his mom, the Judges, and the audience wiped away tears, the singer earned a Golden Buzzer push from Howie Mandel, which sends him to the next round of the competition, but shakes up his Mentorship. 

RELATED: Kodi Lee's Run on AGT Season 14 Was One for the Books

“I believe that everybody on my Dream Team has what it takes to make it to the end,” Howie said as Cowell, Heidi Klum, and Mel B watched in surprise. “But I can always use more.”

In an instant, the dynamics of the NBC reality competition had totally changed.

What song did Kodi Lee sing during his AGT:FL Semifinals performance?

Kodi Lee appears in Season 1 Episode 5 of America's Got Talent: Fantasy League

Before Semifinals, Kodi shared the origin story of the tune.

“I'm singing a song I wrote, and it’s called ‘Journey of You and I.’ I wrote a song for my mom because she always helps me chase my dreams,” he said.

On stage at AGT: Fantasy League, Kodi’s intro was perfectly short and sweet.

“I wrote this song for my hero,” he said, seated at a piano to accompany himself. “Mom, this song is for you.”

Through heartfelt, plainspoken lyrics, excerpted here, Kodi told the story of his constant support system and comfort.  


I’m lost with nowhere to hide

But you opened up my eyes

Turned darkness into light


I fall but you catch me every time

You lead me to new heights 

This love will never die


Kodi built the song to an emotional crescendo with the words, "This song is for you. The journey of you and I."

What did Kodi Lee’s Mom think of his performance?

Kodi Lee appears in Season 1 Episode 5 of America's Got Talent: Fantasy League

During Kodi’s Semifinals song, Tina was seen in the background, beaming with pride, and wiping away tears. Afterwards, her face silently expressed joy and pride.

Simon spoke up.

“Gosh I got all emotional now,” he said. “You wrote that song for your mum obviously. And Tina, you are like a little lioness, aren't you? You really are.” 

Before the performance, Tina put her support role in perspective.

“I'm just a mom,” she said. “That’s what moms are supposed to do. I am extremely grateful for AGT because they have shown another whole side of Kodi that I didn’t even know existed,” she said.

However, despite loving everything about Cowell's Dream Team Mentorship, Kodi was forced to move over to Team Howie, even though Tina said they didn't want to. 

Can Acts Refuse to Switch Dream Teams?

Howie Mandel and Kodi Lee appear in Season 1 Episode 5 of America's Got Talent: Fantasy League

Tina stated that working with Cowell was so special and invaluable because he treated Kodi like everybody else, which is why she expressed reservations about Howie becoming Kodi’s new mentor. As golden confetti rained down, Tina said, “Howie, we love you. But we don’t want to leave Simon.”

It wasn’t a ding at Mandel, but Cowell and Kodi had formed an incredible bond. Along with confetti, a question swirled: Can Acts refuse to switch Dream Teams?

Mandel's response to Tina provided the answer: “It doesn’t matter,” he said, “it’s not up to you.” 

Host Terry Crews summed up the game-changing events.

“Kodi Lee, you just received the Golden Buzzer from Howie Mandel,” he said. “You have been taken from Simon Cowell’s Dream Team over to Howie Mandel’s Dream Team – reluctantly.”  

“Come with me, Team,” Howie said to Kodi and his mom.

Heidi couldn’t resist tossing out a zinger, telling mandel: “They don’t want you."

Here's the thing: Kodi's AGT: Fantasy League Audition song was titled "Change." And that’s something that's always in the air.

Tune in every Monday at 8/7c on NBC to watch AGT: Fantasy League. If you can’t watch the show live, new episodes will be available to stream the next day on Peacock.