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County Durham school girl wows America's Got Talent judges with show-stopping performance

She’s already wowed the UK and now this County Durham teen is stunning audiences in America with her incredible voice.

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Courtney Hadwin, 13, from Hesleden Credit: NCJ Media Syndication

Courtney Hadwin, 13, from Hesleden, near Peterlee, last year narrowly missed out on the top prize in The Voice Kids.

And she could be on her way to even greater success, after Tuesday night’s show-stopping performance on America’s Got Talent.

Courtney Hadwin Credit: NCJ Media Syndication

Appearing on the stage, Courtney, a pupil at The Academy at Shotton Hall, might have looked a little nervous - but any nerves vanished the moment she began her powerful rendition of Otis Redding’s “Hard to Handle”.

The transformation stunned judge Simon Cowell, who said:

You were this shy little thing when you came out. Then you sing and you’re like a lion. I mean, genuinely incredible.”

– Simon Cowell
Courtney Hadwin, 13, from Hesleden Credit: NCJ Media Syndication

But it was comedian and actor Howie Mandel who sealed her fate.

The judge compared the 13-year-old to Janis Joplin, who won a record deal as a youngster at a festival.

Though he couldn’t offer a record deal, he said the best he could do for Courtney was to press the Golden Buzzer, parachuting her straight to the live show.

You are not from this era. You’re from a whole different era!"

– Howie Mandel, America's Got Talent Judge

Each judge can only use the Golden Buzzer for one act, so the Canadian judge was clearly overwhelmed by the North East teen’s talent.

Wiping back tears as the audience exploded with delight, all she could say in reply was: “Thank you, thank you so much.”

Courtney wowed the judges and earned the Golden Buzzer from judge Howie Mandel Credit: NCJ Media Syndication

Courtney will next appear before Simon Cowell, Mel B, Howie Mandel, Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum - as well as audiences across the globe - in the live shows, where she’ll be among the acts competing for a million-dollar prize.