A year and a half after losing his wife in the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant and six others, Matt Mauser went on “America’s Got Talent” to pay tribute to his loved one — and to show his three kids that their grief doesn’t have to define them.
Who are Matt and Christina Mauser?
Before his audition, which aired Tuesday night, Mauser shared that his relationship with his wife, Christina, began over a mutual love of music. The pair met in 2004 at a dive bar where Mauser had been performing. On their first date, they sat in a car and talked about music.
“She was just this very humble, powerful, beautiful human being,” Mauser said in a clip that aired before the audition. “My mom said, ‘If you don’t marry that girl, you’re stupid.’”
Matt and Christina Mauser were married for 15 years and had three children. After several years, they both retired from being school teachers so Matt Mauser could pursue music full time. It was around this time that Christina Mauser got the opportunity to coach girls basketball with Kobe Bryant at his Mamba Sports Academy.
The morning of the accident, Jan. 26, 2020, Christina Mauser kissed her husband and said, “I love you.”
“That was the last thing my wife ever said to me,” the 51-year-old singer recalled on “AGT.” “Your whole life changes in a second.”
Since his wife’s death, Mauser created the Christina Mauser Foundation to provide scholarships and financial assistance to female athletes, People reported. Mauser recently told People that if he were to win “AGT,” all of his earnings would go toward that foundation.
“Christina loved nothing more than to empower young females in life, so this is a great way to keep her legacy alive,” he told People.
What did Matt Mauser perform on ‘AGT’?
Over the past year and a half, Matt Mauser said all of his focus has gone toward his children, hoping to encourage them to continue finding joy in life.
“She would want me to carry on, and she would want our kids to have happy lives, which I don’t know if it’s possible, but I’m going to try,” he said on “AGT.”
Auditioning for “AGT” was a big part of that effort. Mauser told People that he could feel his wife’s presence throughout the show’s “nerve-racking” audition process.
For his audition, which has been viewed more than 1 million times on YouTube, Mauser performed Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)”. He made it through most of the ballad but became too emotional to finish as he looked over at the side of the stage where his kids were standing.
All four “AGT” judges gave him a standing ovation.
“We felt your emotion,” Howie Mandel said. “If you’re able to move strangers, and we can feel it in our heart s... there aren’t words to describe it.”
After “AGT” judges Heidi Klum and Sofia Vergara praised Mauser’s heartfelt performance and vulnerability, Simon Cowell asked the singer what he would like to get out of a show like “AGT.”
Following a brief pause, Mauser said, ”I would 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 to chase their dreams, then I’ll take it,” he added.
Mauser ended up getting a “yes” from all of the judges and advancing to the next round of the competition.
“When I was out there tonight, I was singing to her and I wanted to make her proud,” Mauser said backstage. “I think I did that.”