The singer was married to one of the nine victims in the crash that killed Kobe Bryant.
To the disbelief of both the America's Got Talent's crowd and their quartet of esteemed judges, 51-year old Huntington Beach native Matt Mauser came out and told his story.
"On January 26, 2020, I lost my wife, in the same helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant," he said, as you can see the audience gasp and Simon Cowell's eyes widen with sympathy. He detailed their emotional story, describing his late partner, Christina Mauser, as "a very humble, powerful, beautiful human being," going on to discuss their three children.
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The details of this loss are excruciating to bear, but Mauser still managed to deliver quite a remarkable performance, all the while he and Christina's kids stood on the side of the stage. Visibly emotional throughout, he auditioned with a powerful rendition of Phil Collins' "Against All Odds," to the delight of his children.
Capped off by an abiding ovation from the crowd and all four judges, Mauser was selected by each one of them. Howie Mandel responded to the cover by saying "If you’re able to move strangers, and we can feel it in our hearts… there aren’t words to describe it.”
Renowned aggravator Simon Cowell ultimately asked the singer what he hopes to get out of being on America's Got Talent, to which he said, "I’d like to make sure that my children see that, in spite of the grief that we’ve been through this year, that that grief is not going to define who we are as a family. And that my children see that you have to find joy in life and you have to continue.” Regardless of how far he goes in the competition, it's safe to say he's shown his children a whole lot.
Christina Mauser was coaching girl's basketball alongside Bryant prior to last year's tragedy.