Simon Cowell Calls AGT's Courtney Hadwin, 14, a 'Maniac' After Her Powerful 'Born to Be Wild' Cover
"My prediction is you're going to be the winner," judge Howie Mandel told 14-year-old vocalist Courtney Hadwin
Courtney Hadwin was born to be wild!
The America’s Got Talent standout, 14, performed a jaw-dropping rendition of Steppenwolf’s 1969 hit “Born To Be Wild” for the semifinal round that was complete with a high-pitched scream and a display of her dance moves.
Hadwin, who was chosen as judge Howie Mandel’s golden buzzer winner, received high praise from the majority of the panel and a standing ovation from the crowd.
“You were born to be wild! This was wild! You were amazing. My prediction is you’re going to be the winner,” Mandel told the fan favorite vocalist from County Durham, England.
Though she was introduced during the AGT auditions as an extremely shy teenager, Hadwin was anything but reserved when she hit the Dolby Theater stage.
“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,” Simon Cowell said. “That’s why I absolutely love you.”
Meanwhile, Heidi Klum applauded Hadwin for staying true to her personality and character. “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,” the former Project Runway host said.
However, Mel B had one criticism for the young 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,” the Spice Girl member said.
All in all, Hadwin revealed to host Tyra Banks that she was shocked by the warm embrace from fans and viewers.
“I can’t believe I’ve gotten this far, I just can’t believe it,” the teenager said.
Hadwin has been consistently wowing AGT audiences with her performances.
But she has also faced backlash during the season 13 competition after fans discovered that the NBC show had not completely disclosed Hadwin’s previous music stints.
Turns out, just last year, she made the top six on U.K.’s The Voice Kids, even playing young Cosette in Les Miserables in her home country.
Hadwin’s grandfather defended her, telling the Daily Mail: “We always believed she would do well in the U.S.A. We knew they would get it in a way that the U.K. didn’t. We knew she would go down a storm over there.”
Despite the backlash on social media, Hadwin is technically not breaking AGT rules.
America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.