Two of the most popular and heartwarming acts in this year’s crop on America’s Got Talent were among the performers taking part in the first semifinal round Tuesday.
Kodi Lee, a blind and autistic singer/pianist, and Tyler Butler-Figueroa, a violinist who beat leukemia, both gave their third performances of the season.
Lee performed Donny Hathaway’s “A Song For You” and Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” earlier this season. On Tuesday, he brought the crowd to its feet with his rendition of “You Are The Reason” by Calum Scott.
Lee, 22, is one of a handful of people in the world with his artistic abilities.
“Born with optic nerve hypoplasia, surviving a life-saving surgery at 5 days old, and being diagnosed with autism at an early age has never stopped Kodi from reaching for his dreams,” his website says. He has an audio photographic memory, allowing him to recall music he hears after a single listen.
Lee was the first act to receive a Golden Buzzer this season, sending him automatically to the quarterfinal round. Judge Gabrielle Union used her special buzzer for him.
Butler-Figueroa was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when he was four and a half years old. He spent three years in chemotherapy. He says the physical effects and hair loss from the treatment led to bullying at school.
He started playing the violin with free lessons from an organization called Kidznotes. His broad repertoire now includes genres like Pop, Classical, Gospel, Folk, Memorial, Patriotic, Soft Rock, Line Dance, Nigerian, Hip Hop, Country and Spanish.
Butler-Figueroa performed “Break Free” by Ariana Grande and was joined by other young cancer survivors as he made his way to the stage.
Judge Simon Cowell used his Golden Buzzer for the talented 14-year-old, which sent him to the quarterfinals.
The other acts who performed on Tuesday’s show were:
- Ansley Burns, a 10-year-old country singer
- Benicio Bryant, a teenage singer who closed out Tuesday’s show
- Eric Chien, a close-up magician
- Jackie Fabulous, a stand-up comedienne
- Robert Finley, a veteran singer
- Light Balance Kids, a light-up dance group who earned guest judge Ellie Kemper’s Golden Buzzer during the Judges Cut round
- Greg Morton, an impressionist
- The Messoudi Brothers, an acrobatic trio
- Ndlovu Youth Choir, a South African chorale group
It is now up to America to vote for who they want to see move on in the competition. Five of the 11 acts who performed Tuesday will be revealed during the results show. Those five will move on to the final round.
This week’s results show will air Wednesday at 8 p.m. on NBC.
The 10 acts set to perform on next week’s semifinal show are:
- vocal group Voices of Service
- blacklight painter Alex Dowis
- stand-up comedian Ryan Niemiller
- singer/guitarist Chris Kläfford
- singer Luke Islam
- dance troupe V. Unbeatable
- choral group Detroit Youth Choir
- young opera singer Emmane Beasha
- magician Dom Chambers
- guitarist Marcin Patrzalek