Who Is Courtney Hadwin & Was Howie Mandel's Comparison Between The AGT Golden Buzzer Winner And Janis Joplin Manufactured?

The 13-year-old wowed all four 'America's Got Talent' judges with her rendition of 'Hard to Handle.'

Who Is Courtney Hadwin & Was Howie Mandel's Comparison Between The AGT Golden Buzzer Winner And Janis Joplin Manufactured? getty

On last night's episode of America's Got Talent, a British girl named Courtney Hadwin walked onstage looking nervous — just before she stunned judges Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Mel B with her performance of the Otis Redding's "Hard to Handle", also covered by the Black Crowes in the 90s, so much so they gave her the golden buzzer.

Her unique voice and stage presence has many people comparing her to Janis Joplin.


How old is Courtney Hadwin?

The latest AGT sensation is only 13-years-old!

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"Bloody hell, Courtney,” said Cowell. “You were this shy little thing when you came out. Then you sing and you’re like a lion. I mean, genuinely incredible.”

When Cowell then asked for his opinion, Mandel gushed:

"Oh my gosh. You are not from this era. You're from a whole different era. I'm a huge Janis Joplin fan. There's a story, if you ever watch the documentary, Clive Davis, he goes to the Monterey Pop Festival and he sees this young girl that nobody has ever seen before and nobody knows. It was the first time Janis Joplin got signed and that ... that changed her life. Do you know that story?"


"Yeah," Hadwin replied.

Mandel continued to say that while he couldn't give her a record deal, he could hit the golden buzzer — and he did, sending her to the next round without any additional votes needed from the other judges.

“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,” Hadwin tweeted after the show.

So who is Courtney Hadwin, how is she, and how might her YouTube videos be the real source of Mandel's comparison between her incredible voice and Janis Joplin's after her audition for America's Got Talent?

Here's all you need to know.

1. She was discovered when she was only 10.

Hadwin, originally from Hartlepool, England, took the stage during The Academy at Shotton Hall's lunchtime open mic in 2015 and wowed the audience with her performance of "Say Something" by Great Big World.


2. She was a finalist on The Voice Kids UK.

Just this past year, Hadwin was a finalist on The Voice Kids UK. For her blind audition, she performed Tina Turner's "Nutbush City Limits."

The UK show is open to children between ages 7 and 14. The winner from among the top six singers is crowned champion, winning a trip to Disneyland Paris, plus approximately $40,000 towards their musical education.


3. She deals with social anxiety.

Prior to her audition, Hadwin opened up about her fear of performing.

"I'm just scared to go on stage," she told the cameras. "I'm kind of quiet, and I stick to my own path."

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4. She's been performing shows in between competitions.

Since losing out to singer Jess Folley on The Voice, Hadwin continued performing, including at multiple PRIDE festivals around the UK — until her outstanding audition for AGT.


5. Comparisons to Janis Joplin don't appear to be accidental.

Mandel's reference to Joplin's chops may not be from so out of the blue ...

Hadwin's YouTube channel, currently with 2.7K subscribers who are sure to be joined by thousands more soon, features two videos of the AGT hopeful covering Joplin's legendary "Piece of My Heart" — the first published on January 16, 2017, and the second on September 4, 2017.

Whether or not Mandel's seemingly spontaneous connection between the two was manufactured by producers, however, there's no doubting this teenager has absolutely "got talent."


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Emily Blackwood is an editor at YourTango who covers pop culture, dating, relationships and everything in between. Every Wednesday at 7:20 p.m. you can ask her any and all questions about self-love, dating, and relationships LIVE on YourTango’s Facebook page. You can follow her on Instagram, Twitter or on her website.