Courtney Hadwin was the last act to perform on the June 12 episode of “America’s Got Talent” but she was the first (and only) one to get the golden buzzer and be sent straight through to the live shows. She won over Howie Mandel with her rocking rendition of the Otis Redding classic “Hard to Handle.” After catching her breath backstage, this soft-spoken 13-year-old girl expressed her heartfelt thanks to Mandel for giving her this big break. As she recalls in the video above, “I was really happy and had loads of tears in my eyes and could hardly see.
Hadwin readily admits to being plagued with stage fright. Only with the encouragement of Mel B was she able to raise her voice in song. And what a voice it is. Hadwin sounds like a singer who has been performing for years. Indeed, her homage to Rolling Stones lead man Mick Jagger, she harkens back to the swinging 60s. Mandel invoked another 60s icon, Janis Joplin, when he hit the buzzer. And “AGT” head judge Simon Cowell was equally wowed by this talented teen, praising her tenacity and likening her to lion.
In his “AGT” live blog, our recapper John Benutty observed, “After a sweet pep talk from Mel, 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!”