A British schoolgirl has won a place on the live shows of America’s Got Talent after wowing judges with her stunning audition.
Courtney Hadwin, 13, from Hesleden, in County Durham, received a standing ovation from all four judges for her stirring rendition of Otis Redding’s Hard to Handle.
Judge Howie Mandel was so impressed he hit the ‘golden buzzer’, meaning Courntey will be fast-tracked to a place in the live shows.
The talented teenager is no stranger to talent competitions, having narrowly missed out on the top prize on The Voice Kids in Britain.
Courtney Hadwin, 13, from Hesleden, near Peterlee, in County Durham, won herself a place in the America’s Got Talent live shows after impressing judges with her audition
The schoolgirl appeared nervous on stage but broke out into a confident performance
Judge Howie Mandel was so impressed he hit the ‘golden buzzer’, meaning Courntey will be fast-tracked to a place in the live shows
The schoolgirl, pictured in uniform at The Academy at Shotton Hall, in Peterlee
Courtney, a student at The Academy at Shotton Hall, in Peterlee, appeared nervous as she walked on stage for her audition in a packed auditorium.
She was reassured by judge and former Spice Girl Mel B, who said: ‘I know this is a big stage with lots of people here but you’re here for a reason to go for it and good luck.’
As the music started, Courtney’s nerves disappeared and she launched into a confident performance of Redding’s 1968 hit.
The transformation stunned judge Simon Cowell, who said: ‘Bloody hell Courtney.
The emotional schoolgirl hugged her father on stage amid the thunderous applause
Judge Howie, who compared Courtney to a young Janis Joplin, also walked up on stage to congratulate the young singer as presenter Tyra Banks, right, looked on
Courtney, a student at The Academy at Shotton Hall, in Peterlee, appeared nervous as she walked on stage for her audition in a packed auditorium
‘You were this shy little thing when you came out. Then you sing and you’re like a lion. I mean, genuinely incredible.’
But it was comedian and actor Mandel who sealed her fate.
The judge compared the 13-year-old to Janis Joplin, who won a record deal as a youngster at a festival.
Though he couldn’t offer a record deal, he said the best he could do for Courtney was to press the Golden Buzzer, parachuting her straight to the live show.
‘You are not from this era. You’re from a whole different era,’ he said. Each judge can only use the Golden Buzzer for one act, so the Canadian judge was clearly overwhelmed by the teenager’s talent.
Courntey was joined on stage by her father, who hugged her as she wiped back tears. Mandel and presenter Tyra Banks later joined the singer on stage.
Courntey later posted on Twitter: ‘I didn’t know what to expect when I auditioned for @AGT but the golden buzzer was more than I ever could have dreamed of. Thank you so much @howiemandel I am so happy and can’t thank you enough xx’
The 13-year-old will now appear before the judges on the live shows, where audiences will play a role in competing for a $1million prize.