The British schoolgirl who has wowed America’s Got Talent judges is now favourite to win the $1million prize in tonight’s final.
Courtney Hadwin, 14, from Hesleden, in County Durham, stormed through to the grand finals after earning a standing ovation from judge Simon Cowell for her semi-final performance of Born to be Wild last week.
She had become a viral sensation thanks to her powerful rendition of Otis Redding’s Hard To Handle during in her initial audition in June, which propelled her to fame all over the world.
Courtney previously took part in the UK’s The Voice Kids aged 12, where she made it to the finals under the guidance of McFly’s Danny Jones.
But despite the enormous success she’s already achieved, the teenager has revealed that she is ‘shocked’ she has made it to the final – which she is now 5/6 favourite to win.
British schoolgirl Courtney Hadwin, 14, from Hesleden, in County Durham, is now favourite to win America’s Got Talent. She became an overnight sensation following her show-stopping performance of Otis Redding’s Hard To Handle in June (pictured on AGT)
Judges were wowed by her first audition, which saw comedian Howie Mandel (front) give her the golden buzzer to take her through to the live finals
Speaking to the Mirror, she said: ‘I’m shocked that I have gotten this far. I don’t really think The Voice Kids prepared me for how big AGT is – it’s huge.
‘I’m more excited than nervous at this stage, since its the final and, honestly, to even be here is more than I could have ever hoped for.’
Asked what she would do with the winnings, Courtney added: ‘I’d probably just spoil my dog Teddy and put the rest into my music and hopefully some original songs. I definitely want to start working on my own music.’
Courtney secured her place in tonight’s final after impressing judges with her semi-final performance of Steppenwolf’s Born to Be Wild last week.
Courtney, 14, has revealed that she is ‘shocked’ that she has made it to the final, despite her enormous success
After giving the teenager a standing ovation, Cowell declared that she was a ‘maniac’ after watching the shy teenager give a high-pitched scream and display her wild dance moves.
‘You’re a bundle of excitement and it’s raw and messy. I saw you at the beginning of the show, shaking like a leaf and then you come out on stage and turn into a maniac,’ he said. ‘That’s why I absolutely love you.’
Courtney also earned a standing ovation from fellow judge, comedian and actor Howie Mandel, who had given her the golden buzzer to go through to the live finals.
‘You were born to be wild! This was wild! You were amazing. My prediction is you’re going to be the winner,’ he gushed.
Courtney earned a standing ovation from judge Simon Cowell for her semi-final performance of Born to be Wild (above) last week
Simon (pictured giving the teenager a standing ovation during the semi-final) described her as a ‘bundle of excitement’
Appearing on ITV’s Lorraine in August, Courtney revealed how she’s been practising ‘every day’ to be ready to perform in front of millions on American TV.
‘I’ve been practising every day and going running for my energy levels,’ she said.
The schoolgirl also revealed she was thrilled after Paloma Faith had shared a video of her initial audition, as she counts the London-born singer as one of her idols.
A beaming Courtney told Christine Lampard: ‘Paloma Faith tweeted me! She really liked me.’
Appearing on Lorraine in August (above), Courtney described how she has been ‘practising every day’ for America’s Got Talent live shows
Courtney’s father Paul (pictured with her on Lorraine) said the family had been overwhelmed with all the support they received
Her father Paul, who was also on Lorraine, said the family had been overwhelmed by the support they have received since the audition aired.
He revealed: ‘It’s just been amazing. The support she’s had afterwards. We knew it was going to be big over there but we didn’t expect it to hit over here the way it has.’
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.’
Courtney became an overnight sensation with her rendition of Otis Redding’s Hard To Handle in her initial audition in June (above)
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 at her confident performance.
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, who compared her to Janis Joplin, who won a record deal as a youngster at a festival.
Courtney was just 12 years old when she appeared on ITV children’s talent show The Voice Kids in 2017 (above)
Courtney (above on The Voice) stuck to her rock and soul roots, performing Ike & Tina Turner’s Nutbush City Limits and Martha and the Vandellas’ hit Dancing in the Streets
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.
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’.
Courtney appeared on The Voice Kids in 2017 but failed to achieve the same level of success.