Matt Mauser faced the biggest challenge in his life when his wife, Christina Mauser, died in the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, and others last year.
But he isn’t allowing his grief to stop him from wowing the judges on the Tuesday audition of America’s Got Talent 2021.
Matt, 51, revealed his identity to the judges and the details of his personal loss on stage. “On January 26, 2020, I lost my wife, in the same helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant,” Matt shared with the judges, who were overwhelmed with sympathy.
A video showing his relationship with Christina played in the background, as he explained how they shared “a dreamy kind of life” together. They met in 2004 when Christina saw Matt performing with his band at a dive bar and they started seeing each other regularly after that.
“She was just this very humble, powerful, beautiful human being,” Matt shared with host Terry Crews. He spoke about how on the morning of the tragedy 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.”
Matt said that his focus now after the loss of his wife, “immediately went to my children,” and he knows his wife “would want me to carry on, and she would want our kids to have happy lives.” Matt had visible tears in his eyes when he said, “I don’t know if it’s possible, but I’m gonna try.”
Matt and Christina’s three children were watching from the sidelines as their dad started crooning a soulful cover of Phil Collins’ 1984 single, “Against All Odds.”
He sang well during the performance but was choked up at the end singing and received a standing ovation from the entire audience and all four judges.
“We felt your emotion,” Howie Mandel shared after the number. “If you’re able to move strangers, and we can feel it in our hearts… there aren’t words to describe it.”
“It was very emotional, very touching,” Sofia Vergara added. “Thank you. Thank you for being here.”
Simon asked Matt what he wanted to get out of being on AGT, Matt 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.”
“If this can in any way help my children see that you have to chase your dreams, then I’ll take it,” he added. This moving reply and a touching performance made the judges give Matt all four yes votes which sent him to the next round of the competition.