Kodi Lee is blind and has autism, and his America's Got Talent performance will blow you away.

When Kodi Lee walked onto the stage and introduced himself, his disabilities were clearly visible.

Kodi Lee, 22, used a cane to help him navigate the America's Got Talent stage as he held onto his mother's arm. He told the judges his name and age, and his mother, Tina, explained that he is blind and has autism.


Kodi connected with music in early childhood, Tina said. "He listened, and his eyes just went huge, and he started singing," she told the judges. "I realized he's an entertainer. Through music and performing, he was able to withstand living in this world, because when you're autistic, it's really hard to do what everybody else does. It actually saved his life playing music."

His mother escorted him to the piano and quietly told him, "This is your time, okay? There's going to be like 20 cameras on you. Ready?"

Kodi replied with an enthusiastic, "Yeahhhh!"

Tina whispered, "Go! Boom!"

Boom indeed. When Kodi began playing the piano and singing, everyone's jaws dropped.

Tina exited the stage, leaving her son in the spotlight. Then he wowed everyone in the room.

He played and sang a rendition of Donny Hathaway's "A Song for You," and as he performed, it almost appeared as if his disabilities melted away. They didn't, of course, but they clearly didn't stop him from stunning the unsuspecting audience.

As Kodi masterfully sang his song, his voice ranging from powerfully clear to a sweet falsetto, the judge's expressions ranged from surprise to awe to joyful admiration.

By the time Kodi played his last note, his family was in tears backstage, and the judges and the entire audience were on their feet, cheering.

The judges gushed, and Gabrielle Union surprised Kodi with her first Golden Buzzer award.

"What just happened there was extraordinary," said judge Simon Cowell. "I'm going to remember this moment for the rest of my life."

Gabrielle Union is a new America's Got Talent judge, and she's never hit the Golden Buzzer button, which advances a contestant straight through to the finals.

"I'm a new judge this season," she told Kodi and Tina, who had rejoined her son onstage, "and I'm also a new mom this year. And 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. And tonight, I'm going to give you something special."

She hit the Golden Buzzer, gold confetti rained down on Kodi and his mom, and everyone celebrated with unbridled glee.

Seriously, watch the whole clip and tell me it doesn't make your whole day:


Golden Buzzer: Kodi Lee Wows You With A Historical Music Moment! - America's Got Talent 2019 youtu.be

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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