America’s Got Talent Judge Simon Cowell called this semifinals singer a “maniac” after an astounding rendition of a classic 1968 hit by Steppenwolf during the show’s semifinal performances.
Fourteen-year-old singer Courtney Hadwin’s version of the classic rock song was complete with a high-pitched scream as well as her signature dance moves, now beloved by fans of the NBC series.
Hadwin received praise from most of the panel of judges as well as a standing ovation from the audience in attendance.
“You were born to be wild! My prediction is you’re going to be the winner,” judge Howie Mandel told the singer from County Durham, England, for whom he pressed his golden buzzer for earlier in the season.
The golden buzzer sends an act to the next round regardless of the other judges’ votes.
“You’re a bundle of excitement and it’s raw and messy. I saw you at the beginning of the show, shaking like a leaf and then you come out on stage and turn into a maniac,” AGT judge Simon Cowell said. “That’s why I absolutely love you.”
Judge Heidi Klum was in agreement with her fellow judges, remarking “You bring a whole different vibe to it all. Most girls your age sing pop songs but you bring that gritty rock-n-roll, and I love that. You’re authentic and original.”
People Magazine noted that judge Mel B seemed to be the only one in criticism of Hadwin’s performance.
The former Spice Girl remarked of the singer, “There’s no doubt, you’re just out there and I love it. For me I have to be really honest, I felt your nerves … and I’m not used to that with you.”
Hadwin’s persona throughout the season has been a shy girl who seems to come alive as a performer on stage.
However, she has received backlash for being a “seasoned” reality show competitor, having made the Top Six on U.K.’s The Voice Kids in 2017.
People Magazine also revealed that Hadwin also portrayed the difficult role of Cosette in the iconic play Les Miserables in England.
The outlet noted that the teen is not breaking the official rules of the series by competing.
“International acts are eligible to participate in the initial AGT auditions on visitor visas. If selected to proceed to the program live shows, AGT works with acts to secure appropriate performer visas which give acts authorization to perform throughout the series,” a spokesperson for the show told Good Housekeeping.
Despite having her critics, the teen remarked, “I can’t believe I’ve gotten this far, I just can’t believe it.”
America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays on NBC.