When Kodi Lee won the 14th season of America’s Got Talent in 2019, he became an instant hit with viewers around the world. Blind, autistic, and an incredibly expressive vocalist, his story and his skills have rightfully garnered him tens of millions of views. On Wednesday (Aug. 18), Lee returned to the AGT stage for an impassioned duet of “Hold On” with the song’s originator herself, H.E.R.
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“He’s amazing—I’m so moved, you know?” H.E.R. told Terry Crews after the performance. “I think he’s the epitome of what music is. It brings people together, it inspires, it heals, and he is all of that. So, I’m blessed to be performing with him”
“Hold On” comes off H.E.R.’s most recent record, Back of My Mind, and shows off the 24-year-old musician’s pop R&B style. With a stoic ¾ groove as its foundation, the vocal harmony-led melody ebbs and flows, reaching a soaring height (while still leaving plenty of room for H.E.R.’s distorted guitar lines).
For Lee, the song was a perfect vehicle for exhibiting the awe-inspiring control he has over his voice. Having perfect pitch, his ability to hit each note with precision—while still carrying the palpable heart of the song—is an amazing feat. He’ll be featured in America’s Got Talent Las Vegas residency slated to open on November 4.
Other than the duet, Wednesday night’s quarterfinals episode was a run-of-the-mill affair. Broadway trio T.3 and disco-novelty Johnny Showcase—who received the Simon Cowell superlative of “Worst song I have ever heard at a live show”—were sent home, but a deserving group is pressing on, taking the next step on the road to Vegas and beyond.
Watch Kodi Lee’s golden buzzer moment from 2019 below: