Matt Mauser performed on America’s Got Talent and spoke about what it was like to lose his wife, Christina Mauser, in a helicopter crash – the same one Kobe Bryant was in on January 26, 2020.

On their way to a youth basketball game at Bryant’s Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, the helicopter crashed into a mountain and killed Christina, 38, NBA player Bryant, 41, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant, John Altobelli, 56, Keri Altobelli, 46, Alyssa Altobelli, 14, Sarah Chester, 45, Payton Chester, 13, and pilot Ara Zobayan.

Mauser performed a rendition of Phil Collins‘ “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” on season 16 of the reality competition show.

Mauser is competing for the $1 million AGT prize.

Mauser said his kids Penny, Thomas and Ivy inspired him to go audition.

Before his audition, Mauser told judges Simon Cowell, Sofia Vergara, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel his reason behind choosing to audition in AGT.

“I am here because my wife and I, we were both school teachers and we retired from teaching so that I could do the music full-time, and she got the opportunity to coach girls basketball with Kobe Bryant,” he explained. “But on Jan. 26, 2020, I lost my wife in the same helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant. You know if I had it my way, I would have my wife and I’d be supporting her but that’s not what happened. You know it’s been a rough year but here I am.”

Mauser also spoke with AGT host Terry Cruise, telling him how he met his wife; the two started dating after she saw him performing at a dive bar in 2004.

“She was just this very humble, powerful, beautiful human being,” he said.

Mauser is the frontman of Tijuana Dogs and Sinatra Big Band.

He recalled the final memories he shared with Christina. Mauser shared her final words with him.

“When she left that day, she kissed me and she said, ‘I love you.’ And that was the last thing my wife ever said to me. Your whole life changes in a second,” he said. “My focus immediately went to my children. You start to say, ‘All right she would want me to carry on.’ She would want our kids to have happy lives, which I don’t know if it’s possible but I’m going to try.”

The judges expressed their admiration for Mauser at the end of his performance.

“We felt your emotion and regardless of what anybody does on that stage, if you’re able to move strangers and we can feel it in our hearts … there aren’t words to describe it,” said Mandel.

“There was just a different kind of vibe in your voice,” said Klum. “When you were singing it, it definitely went inside of me. It was beautiful, it was sad. As a man, as a strong man, standing there, I don’t know, it was very special.”

“It was very emotional, very touching. Thank you, thank you for being here,” said Vergara.

Cowell proceeded to ask Mauser what he would do if he did well in the competition.

“I would like to… that’s a good question. I haven’t gotten that far,” said Mauser. “I would like to make sure that my children see that in spite of the grief that we’ve been through this year, that grief is not going to define who we are as a family. My children see that you have to find joy in life and you have to continue. If this could help my children chase their dreams, then I’ll take it.”

“Your wife is always here, that is her legacy,” Mandel said as he pointed to Mauser’s children who were backstage. “You are her legacy. This moment is her legacy.”

All four judges said yes to Mauser.

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