Courtney Hadwin has been the frontrunner to win “America’s Got Talent” since her audition in June when she inspired Howie Mandel to hit the Golden Buzzer following her scorching rendition of the Otis Redding classic “Hard to Handle.” Because she was singled out for this special treatment that sent her straight through to the “AGT” live shows, the English schoolgirl did not have to compete in the judge cuts portion of the program. That phase of the competition is now over and we can confirm that Courtney will be featured on the first live quarterfinal on August 14.
She will join 11 other acts to compete for just seven slots in the semifinals. But based on her audition video, which you can watch above, Courtney should be a shoo-in. That is, if she can overcome her stage fright. This soft-spoken 13-year-old girl admitted to being nervous but was able to raise her voice in song with the encouragement of Mel B. And what a voice it is. Hadwin sounds like a singer who has been performing for years. “AGT” head judge Simon Cowell was wowed by this talented teen, praising her tenacity and likening her to lion.
In his “AGT” live blog, our recapper John Benutty observed, “Courtney erupted into a surprising rock performance that knocked everyone’s socks off. Howie was blown away by her, comparing her to Janis Joplin and saying that Janis was signed on the spot by Clive Davis, but since he isn’t Clive Davis the best thing he could do for her right now is hit his Golden Buzzer! That means Courtney has a huge boost of confidence on her way straight through to the live shows!”