Courtney Hadwin came to her America’s Got Talent audition in 2018 and immediately declared that she was nervous. Nobody expected the 13-year-old to turn into an actual rockstar on stage singing Otis Redding’s “Hard to Handle.”
Mel B began asking Courtney questions and it was clear that the teen was still very nervous and shy. When asked what her favorite type of music is, Courtney responded “I don’t know.” Nobody knew what was going to happen once Courtney started singing but they were immediately surprised when the music started and she launched into a soulful performance.
She commanded the stage and the audience and had everyone up on their feet clapping along as she belted away. Howie Mandel was so impressed by Courtney’s ability to virtually hit any note that he stood up on his feet. She received a standing ovation from all of the judges after her performance filled with tremendous energy and heart.
“Bloody hell Courtney,” Simon Cowell said. “You were this shy little thing when you first came out then you sing and you’re like a lion. I mean genuinely incredible.” Howie marveled at how amazing Courtney’s performance was. “You are not from this era, you’re from a whole different era,” he said. He went on to mention that Clive Davis went to the Monterey Pop Festival and saw young Janis Joplin perform. That same day, Janis got signed. “I’m not Clive Davis, I’m Howie Mandel and I can’t sign you to a record deal. The only thing I can do for you young lady is give you….” he trailed off before hitting his Golden Buzzer.
Courtney began crying tears of joy and was sent straight to the Quarterfinals. There she performed James Brown’s “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.” She made it all the way to the finale and sang “River Deep, Mountain High” by Tina Turner. Fans were a bit disappointed when she finished the competition in the bottom half of the top five.
Immediately after appearing on ‘AGT,’ Courtney signed a deal with Arista Records in partnership with Simon’s former label Syco Music. Her first album called “The Cover Sessions” was released in October of 2019. She performed live covers of very popular songs on this album.
Courtney returned to compete on ‘AGT: Champions’ in 2019 and performed an original song called “Pretty Little Thing.” She did not make it past the preliminary round and again her fans were outraged.
She said on Instagram that she has been using her time during the coronavirus pandemic to build her loft into a little studio so she can continue practicing music.
The now 15-year-old definitely seems a little less shy than her ‘AGT’ days and has come out of her shell on social media.
What did you think of Courtney’s America’s Got Talent journey?
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