A British schoolgirl who will compete in the finals of America’s Got Talent has spoken for the first time about her life-changing audition.
Courtney Hadwin, 13, from Hesleden, in County Durham, became an overnight sensation following her show-stopping performance of Otis Redding’s Hard To Handle on Tuesday night’s programme.
Judge Howie Mandel was so impressed that he hit the ‘Golden Buzzer’, fast-tracking Courtney to the live shows and a place in the quarterfinals.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain today the talented teenager spoke for the first time about her experience, saying it ‘didn’t feel real’ and was ‘like a dream’. ]
Appearing on Good Morning Britain today talented teenager Courtney Hadwin spoke for the first time about her experience, saying it ‘didn’t feel real’ and was ‘like a dream’
Courtney Hadwin, 13, from Hesleden, in County Durham, became an overnight sensation following her show-stopping performance of Otis Redding’s Hard To Handle on Tuesday
She said: ‘It felt like a dream it didn’t feel real. It felt like I was watching TV.’
Courtney, who appeared on the ITV show with her father, Paul, looked shy as she spoke to presenters Kate Garraway and Ranvir Singh.
However she admitted she feels confident whenever she stands on stage.
‘When I do my singing I turn in to a different person,’ she said.
She later added: ‘No not really it just feels weird… It feels like a different person when I go on stage and I just explode.’
Mr Hadwin, a father of three, said his eldest daughter is not quiet as shy as she first appears.
‘When you get to know her she is not as quiet,’ he said. ‘It’s meeting new people.’
Courtney, who appeared on the ITV show with her father, Paul, looked shy as she spoke to presenters Kate Garraway and Ranvir Singh on Friday’s programme
The schoolgirl, pictured, admitted she feels confident whenever she stands on stage
Mr Hadwin, a father of three, said his eldest daughter is not quiet as shy as she first appears
Courtney’s quiet nature was apparent when she stepped on stage to audition in the packed auditorium during a trip to Los Angeles earlier this year.
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 so 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, complete with enthusiastic dance moves befitting of a fully-fledged rocker.
Host Tyra Banks, who was watching from the wings with Mr Hadwin, was left in awe of the performance.
The schoolgirl appeared nervous on stage but broke out into a confident performance
Judges Heidi Klum and Mel B were left in awe of Courtney’s commanding performance
Judge Howie Mandel was so impressed he hit the ‘golden buzzer’, meaning Courtney will be fast-tracked to a place in the live shows
The transformation stunned judge Simon Cowell, who said: ‘Bloody hell Courtney.
‘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 shows.
The schoolgirl, pictured in uniform at The Academy at Shotton Hall, in Peterlee
Courtney Hadwin sings her heart out on stage at a local festival in Hartlepool last year
Courtney has been singing in public for years and is no stranger to talent competitions, having narrowly missed out on the top prize on The Voice Kids UK last year.
Her grandfather Tom Storey, 60, who lives in Inverness, revealed that Courtney chose to enter the American version of the show rather than Britain’s Got Talent because the ‘UK doesn’t get her’ and they are ‘confidant she will do well in the US’.
On Wednesday MailOnline revealed how Courtney has spent the last two years busking across the country in order to raise money to fund her dream of becoming a singer.
Grandfather Tom Storey said his singing granddaughter, pictured, is actually ‘painfully shy’
The money also goes towards her dad, Paul, to help pay for fuel to take her to gigs and to her favourite busking spots in London, York and the North East.
Like many aspiring chart-toppers, Courtney has also built a devoted fan base online.
The teenager regularly posts on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, where she keeps fans updated with upcoming performances and new releases.
She is supported in her singing by her mother Annmarie and father Paul, who have sent her to lessons to help train her voice. She is an older sister to Paul and Melanie.
A spokesperson for America’s Got Talent said overseas acts are able to take part in the show’s auditions on visitor visas, and producers work with them to obtain the correct performer visas if they progress to the live shows.
Courtney Hadwin’s grandfather Tom Storey (pictured together) has revealed to the MailOnline that his granddaughter has been busking to fund her singing lessons