The season 14 winner, 22, and his mother Tina, who was instrumental in his victory, tells PEOPLE that the competition was truly a life-changing opportunity.
“It was unbelievable,” Kodi recalls of hearing host Terry Crews announce his name as the winner.
Kodi was born with optic nerve hypoplasia and diagnosed with autism at age 4. “Without performing, he wouldn’t be who he is today. He wouldn’t have the outlet,” Tina says.
“Oh my God, it’s surreal. I’m still like, ‘Did this really happen?’ And Kodi, of course, he said, ‘Oh, I knew I was going to be the winner,’ ” the proud parent shares. “It felt magical. Being there was like a dream. It felt like a dream coming true to actually be standing there.”
As the reigning winner of AGT, Kodi qualifies to compete in the franchise’s spinoff series, America’s Got Talent: The Champions, which kicks off production later this fall.
“We’re discussing that right now but I really do think we are considering it,” Tina says. “I want to see how Kodi feels in the next couple of days to get a real answer from him. But I definitely think he will. I want to give him the rest and then he’ll give me the answer.”
However, judge Simon Cowell advised against it. “I think this is as much pressure as he probably needs in one year. I think he needs to enjoy it for the moment, and hopefully forever. Maybe next year.”
As an official decision awaits, Kodi reveals he’s looking to record and release original music after performing breathtaking covers throughout the season, including the Golden Buzzer-winning “A Song for You” by Donny Hathaway.
“Keep performing and make my music,” he says about his next career moves.