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Does America’s Got Talent finalist Courtney Hadwin have an unfair advantage?

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The season 13 America’s Got Talent finals are upon us and will see the likes of Dutch singer Glennis Grace, card magician Shin Lim, and father-of-six singer Michael Ketterer battling it out for the $1 million prize and a headlining show in Las Vegas.

Joining them in the season 13 finals will be the 14-year-old singer from County Durham, England, Courtney Hadwin. The teen progressed to the finals with her rousing performance of Steppenwolf’s Born to Be Wild, which got a standing ovation from Simon Cowell.

Following her semi-final performance, Howie Mandel said: ‘I can’t sit down. You were born to be wild and this was wild! You’re amazing,’ before adding, ‘My prediction is that you’re gonna win America’s Got Talent.’

British singer Courtney Hadwin progressed to the America’s Got Talent season 13 finals

The County Durham performer was sent straight to the live rounds by Mandel after impressing with her rendition of Otis Redding’s Hard to Handle and then delivered again with a cover of James Brown’s Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.

However, some AGT fans have taken issue with Hadwin’s stratospheric rise, saying that she has an unfair advantage, especially after learning that the singer had a stint on the London stage, performing as the Young Cosette in Les Miserables and took part in another Simon Cowell talent show in the UK.

Back in 2017, Hadwin appeared on UK’s The Voice Kids, where she was mentored by McFly’s Danny Jones. 

Hadwin reached the final round of the competition but failed to win with her performance of And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going from Dreamgirls. She was beaten by Jess Folley.

Some people took to Twitter to ask why the connection was not mentioned. 

One user wrote: ‘Courtney Hadwin was on Britain’s The Voice Kids last year and Simon was a judge. Why wasn’t that mentioned, especially since it comes up when you google her…’

Another wrote: ‘Stop having your judges fake react to acts they are already familiar with. Most people watching are already familiar with Riana and others are familiar with Courtney Hadwin and the judges certainly should know who they are but instead they act like they never heard of them!!’

Hadwin’s grandfather, Tom Storey, explained to the MailOnline back in June why his granddaughter decided to appear on an American talent show.

‘We always believed she would do well in the USA. We knew they would get it in a way that the UK didn’t.

‘We believed in her and knew that she would go down a storm over there.’

Storey also revealed the abuse Hadwin received after The Voice Kids: ‘Poor Courtney received dogs abuse after it. 

‘Online people were quite cruel saying she was not a singer but a shouter but for every one who abused her there were hundreds praising her. She came through it but it was upsetting.’

However, Hadwin appearing on another talent show is not a novelty. From this season alone, 13-year-old Jeffrey Li, who was eliminated before the quarter-finals, had previously appeared on Little Big Shots and China’s New Generation of Sound.

Even Hadwin’s limited stage experience isn’t exactly a unique occurrence given that Noah Guthrie, who was eliminated in the semi-finals, starred in Glee and performed on Dancing With the Stars, while Us the Duo previously had a Republic Records deal and 1.2 million monthly listeners on Spotify.

Meanwhile, fellow finalist Samuel J. Comroe appeared on The Real Husbands of Hollywood and featured on Conan as a comedic guest.

Some fans believe that Howie Mandel’s support for Hadwin is also a cause for concern, with one user on Reddit writing that the judge’s backing is ‘disrespectful to all other talents’.

However, Mandel’s backing is nothing sinister given that he was the judge who gave Hadwin the Golden Buzzer back in June.

Simon Cowell has been very vocal about his support for Hadwin’s fellow finalist Michael Ketterer, for whom he pressed the Golden Buzzer and even tried to get country music legend Garth Brooks to write a song for him.

Ultimately, the show’s format means that it is the American public that decides who wins the talent competition, and Hadwin, like everyone else, will need the most public votes to win the season 13 America’s Got Talent final.

When is America’s Got Talent 2018 final?

The final will take place over two nights. The ten remaining finalists will perform for the chance of a lifetime on September 18 at 8pm ET on NBC. The live results show will take place the following evening, September 19, when the winner of AGT 2018 will be revealed. 


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