Season 14 of America’s Got Talent debuted Tuesday night on NBC, and Episode 1 is already proving to be one of the best ever in the show’s catalog. Simon Cowell and Howie Mandel both returned to the show to sit on the panel and were joined by new judges Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough following the departures of Mel B and Heidi Klum last season. Terry Crews was officially brought in as the new host after winning over viewers on the spinoff, America’s Got Talent: The Champions, earlier this year.
Normally with AGT premieres, the first episode ends with a Golden Buzzer, and last night was no different. As seen in the episode, and confirmed by People, blind autistic singer Kodi Lee took home the first Golden Buzzer of the season after shocking the judges, audience, and millions watching at home.
Kodi was brought out on stage with his mother, Tina Lee, who explained Kodi’s condition and journey with music.
“Kodi is blind and autistic. 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.
— America's Got Talent (@AGT) May 29, 2019
After his introduction and a few questions from Gabrielle, Kodi took his place at the piano and began one of the greatest AGT performances of all time. Kodi performed “A Song For You” by Leon Russell, which was later covered by Ray Charles.
The judges were stunned at his rendition, as was the audience who all rose to their feet when the song concluded. Julianne couldn’t hold back the tears, as Simon and Howie noted how captivated they were.
“I’m gonna remember this moment for the rest of my life,” Simon said.
Perhaps the most captivated was Gabrielle, who felt a connection with Kodi’s mother.
“I’m a new judge this season and I’m also a new mom this year. It’s the toughest job I’ve ever had and the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. You just want to give your kids the moon, the stars, and the rainbows. Tonight, I’m going to give you something special,” the actress said before hitting the Golden Buzzer.
Tears, applause, and lots of shimmering confetti followed and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Video of Kodi’s performance was immediately shared to social media, and as of Wednesday morning, the clip had over 27 million views on Facebook alone.
— billboard (@billboard) May 29, 2019
Facebook and Twitter were ablaze with users praising Kodi’s performance, which is being hailed by some as one of the greatest ever on AGT and the best Golden Buzzer of all time.
“Best Golden Buzzer of all time hands down,” one viewer tweeted
“Hands down one of the BEST #AGT performances of all time this season’s first Golden Buzzer, Kodi!” another added.
Kodi will be heading straight to the live shows alongside four more Golden Buzzer winners who have yet to be shown.
Catch America’s Got Talent every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.