Taking the stage, this 13-year-old with social anxiety was clearly very nervous to be on such a large stage – and in front of so many people.
The 2018 season of America’s Got Talent showcased young Courtney Hadwin, who admitted to judge Mel B that she was nervous – but got through a couple more questions about herself before starting the performance.
Backstage, in a pre-audition clip, her father explained how Courtney was incredibly shy and quite reclusive. Due to her social anxiety, she’d often had trouble making friends or talking with people – but her personality always had shined when she sang.
Without missing a beat, young Courtney proved that singing was what she had been born to do – and belted out a growling and impressive cover of Otis Redding’s “Hard To Handle” that reminded judge Howie Mandel of Janis Joplin’s own career beginnings.
— BBC Newsround (@BBCNewsround) August 21, 2018
During the audition, all four judges we left with their jaws on the floor and complete amazement washed across their faces as Courtney moved back and forth across the stage in a wild pattern of dance moves.
“You’re from a whole different era!” Mandel gushed after her performance and compared her to Joplin. “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 this!”
Two seconds later, Mandel had already slammed his hand down on the golden buzzer – which automatically advanced Courtney to the live semi-finals!
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 https://t.co/qqNKUWyzVk
— Courtney Hadwin (@CourtneyHadwin) June 13, 2018
As confetti fell on the young performer, she welled up with tears and her dad rushed to her side during a roaring standing ovation from the audience.
Watch this talented young star’s full-throttle Janis Joplin cover below and let us know what you think in the comments!