Kodi Lee was crowned the winner of Season 14 of America's Got Talent on Wednesday, Sept. 18, earning the title after weeks of impressing the judges and viewers with his remarkable talent. Lee, who is blind and autistic, earned a Golden Buzzer early in the season after performing a cover of Donny Hathaway's "A Song For You," which he played on the piano. The 22-year-old was given the Golden Buzzer by judge Gabrielle Union, who was visibly emotional during the Kodi's time on stage.
"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," Union told Kodi and his mom, Tina, after the performance. "You just want to give your kids the moon, the stars and the rainbows. Tonight, I'm going to give you something special," she added before pushing the Golden Buzzer.
Throughout the season, Lee has been helped onto the stage by Tina, who previously told PEOPLE that she's "beyond proud" of her son.
"Just to see the way that people are accepting him and loving him, it's magical," she said. "It's so nice to see [audiences] enjoy his talent and not look at his disabilities. They see the real, real extraordinary talent in him. 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."
Tina added that Kodi's family support has been a driving factor in helping him to succeed.
"We worked as a family to help him just to be able to exist and co-exist with autism in our world," she said. "It's been really hard for him, especially when your emotions are harder, they're harder for him to deal with. The emotions are intensified for him. Our family works together to carry him through and support him."
On Wednesday, Kodi triumphed over nine finalists, including five other Golden Buzzer winners, to earn the title, along with $1 million and a series of headlining shows at Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas from Nov. 7-10.
"He's making people believe in something they didn't even know is attainable. He's magic," Union told PEOPLE of Lee in August.0comments
"There are a lot of people in the world we put limits on. We say, 'This is what's good for you,'" she continued. "We hold people back with our shortsighted thinking and our bigoted views. You have a family like Kodi's who supports him and sees the beauty and the immense talent. Kodi's family fought to make sure that he had a stage to be brilliant on — whether that stage was in their living room or on the world's biggest talent show. They never stopped fighting for him, that's huge."
Photo Credit: Getty / Frazer Harrison