America's Got Talent - Season: 16

Father who lost his wife in Kobe Bryant helicopter crash auditions for America’s Got Talent

Matt Mauser’s performance will bring you to tears

A 51-year-old man by the name of Matt Mauser just captured America’s heart after a tear-jerking audition at America’s Got Talent. During the episode that aired on July 6th, the singer got on stage and explained he decided to come to the show because he and his wife were school teachers who retired from teaching so he could do music full time. Then, she got the opportunity to coach girls basketball with Kobe Bryant. After the audience’s applause for her success, he delivered the heartbreaking news, “on January 26th of 2020, I lost my wife. In the same helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant.” The couple was married for 15 years and have three children. Matt has previously explained that their 12 year old daughter Penny would have been on the same flight if she didn’t have a performance with him that same day.

America's Got Talent - Season: 16©GettyImages
Matt Mauser

The judges were visibly taken aback and a shocked Simon Cowell responded, “I’m so sorry.” Matt explained in his prerecorded interview that he met his wife Christina Mauser in 2004 and they lived a “dreamy kind of life.” He told Terry Crews she met him while he was playing at a dive bar and after he asked her out they sat in the car and talked about music. “She was just this very humble, powerful, beautiful human being,” Matt said.

On the day she died Matt said when she left, “she kissed me and she said I love you. That was the last thing she ever said to me.” In the heartbreaking clip, Matt said he knows she would want him and their kids to be happy, “I don’t know if it‘s possible, but I’m going to try” he said with tears in his eyes. Before his performance, Matt said if he had it his way he would have his wife and he would be supporting her but “that’s not what happened. It’s been a rough year, but here I am.”

Matt took a moment to compose himself before starting a beautiful rendition of “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” by Phil Collins. The lyrics mixed with Matt’s voice had the judges listening intently with their mouths ajar and by the end of the song, he was so overcome with emotion that his voice began to crack. The audience and judges immediately got on their feet, and they began to praise his performance. Heidi Klum said there was a different vibe in his voice that went inside her and called it “beautiful and sad,” and Sofia Vergara was at a loss for words and thanked him for being there.

After Simon Cowell asked what he hopes to achieve if he moves forward, the father said he wants his children to see despite the grief they have been through this year, it won‘t define them, and they have to continue chasing their dreams.