Courtney Hadwin rocked the stage during Tuesday’s episode of America’s Got Talent. Her electrifying performance of the James Brown classic “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” brought the audience to its feet as well as the judges, according to Entertainment Tonight.
The 14-year-old phenomenon earned a Golden Buzzer from judge Howie Mandel during her audition. Her audition performance of “Hard to Handle” by Otis Redding stunned all the judges with its maturity and soulfulness.
The judges weren’t sure what to make of the British teen when she first walked onto the stage, according to Entertainment Tonight.
“You’re like this shy little thing when you first came out,” said judge Simon Cowell of her audition performance. “And then you sing, and you’re like a lion. I mean, genuinely incredible.”
Hadwin took no prisoners during her Tuesday performance. She prowled the stage, evoking classic rock/blues artist Janis Joplin while maintaining a style all her own.
“You are so amazing,” Mandel told the singer after her performance.
Judge Heidi Klum was equally impressed.
“I have not been this excited about a new artist in a very, very long time,” she said.
Cowell praised Hadwin in comments to Entertainment Tonight.
“I’ve done these shows a long time,” he said. “You always remember that one performance where you go, ‘That’s gonna make a difference,’ and that was one of those moments.”
Hadwin’s performance is even more impressive in light of her experiences with judgment from her peers and her social anxiety.
“People at school didn’t really get my music,” she said on America’s Got Talent.“Some would say I sang like a boy and that I was weird when I dance.”
She recounted feeling pressure to change but looked to her heroes like Janis Joplin to find the strength to stay true to herself and her style.
— Courtney Hadwin (@CourtneyHadwin) August 7, 2018
“People didn’t expect me to perform the way I do,” she said. “But when I hear music, I come alive. I feel electrified.”
That’s certainly evident in her live performance. Audiences also can’t get enough of her, with her audition performance YouTube video earning 46 million views.
Viewers are equally enthusiastic about her Tuesday performance.
“Been waiting weeks for another performance from her and she did not disappoint!” said one YouTube commenter.
“Hands down the best performer of the night,” said another fan.
Although she said she felt “nervous” before performing, her nerves didn’t show on stage. From her opening notes to her ending yelp, she had the audience completely enthralled.