British teenager wows the judges on America’s Got Talent

A British teenager earned a standing ovation after wowing the judges on America’s Got Talent.

Courtney Hadwin, 13, from Peterlee in County Durham, impressed judge Howie Mandel enough for him to press his golden buzzer – meaning she will go straight to the live shows.

Courtney performed an energetic version of Otis Redding’s Hard To Handle and said receiving the golden buzzer was more than she “could have dreamed”.

She is now in contention for the one million dollar (£750,000) prize money on the show.

Viewers who tuned in to Tuesday’s episode on NBC watched as the timid teenager nervously entered the stage before answering the judges’ questions.

Former Spice Girl Mel B asked Courtney what her favourite subject was in school, to which she replied: “Music.”

When Mel asked her what kind of music, the obviously nervous schoolgirl giggled and said she did not know.

Mel then told her not to be nervous, and invited her to start singing. As soon as the music kicked in, Courtney transformed on stage and immediately started dancing, much to the surprise of the judging panel.

Courtney then began to sing a version of Redding’s Hard To Handle, leading to open mouths in the audience.

As well as Mel B and Mandel, fellow judges Simon Cowell and Heidi Klum looked obviously impressed.

When she finished, Cowell described her as a “lion” and exclaimed: “Bloody hell, Courtney!”

Mandel then compared her to the late American singer Janis Joplin, adding: “Oh my gosh. You are not from this era.

“The only thing I can do for you, young lady, is give you… my golden buzzer!”

Mandel then bashed his golden buzzer – each judge is only allowed to do so once a series and it means the act in question skips the next rounds of auditions and goes straight to the live quarter finals.

Host Tyra Bank said: “You were absolutely amazing. I’ve never seen anything like that.”

An overwhelmed Courtney burst into tears and later tweeted: “I didn’t know what to expect when I auditioned for @AGT but the golden buzzer was more than I ever could have dreamed of. Thank you so much @howiemandel I am so happy and can’t thank you enough xx.”

This is not Courtney’s first taste of a talent competition and last year she competed in The Voice Kids UK, but did not win.

- Press Association

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