When she comes on stage for the very first time, she looks like a painfully shy schoolgirl, afraid to even look up at the audience. When the judges ask her questions – all of them simple – she can barely glance at them, smiling nervously through her short responses. The judges on the reality show America’s Got Talent reassure her and tell her not to be nervous.
But then, the music starts. It’s Otis Redding’s Hard to Handle, and by some miracle, the shy 13-year-old British schoolgirl on stage has disappeared, replaced by a fiery rocker from the 1960s. The music begins, and Courtney Hadwin dons another personality, belting out powerful, high-octane vocals that could only have come from the throat of a seasoned vocalist. Naturally, the entire audience is stunned, as are the judges, and their bodies automatically stand up in response to the awe they’re feeling.
“Bloody hell, Courtney!” exclaims Simon Cowell at the end of the performance, echoing exactly what everyone else is thinking. Of course, the audience and judges have to force their mouths shut after the mouth-opening performance.
And that’s how a 13-year-old shy, reclusive girl from County Durham in Britain stunned an American audience and a panel of judges on one of the world’s most popular shows. If you don’t believe it, watch the video above. And in case you’re planning on dismissing her as a one-hit wonder, watch some of Courtney’s past performances below: