Well, we can go to the foot of our stairs, Courtney Hadwin shockingly lost America’s Got Talent………………….or did she?
The little 14-year-old girl from a humble village in the UK came to America on visa to enter AGT. She would have gone for Britain’s Got Talent, but the claim is that Britain doesn’t get her for her music choices and such. Her family and friends felt that she would do very well in the US…and indeed she did.
The girl shocked the world with her first performance on the AGT show and it was a wild ride since. Throughout the show she was humble and unassuming. Some thought it was an act, but factually speaking, she has an anxiety disorder. Singing on stage and such is done to help her overcome it. For Courtney, it is like an out-of-body experience thanks to her real passion for music. That is what the rest of us lucky ones get to see every time she performs. Personally, I have never seen such true passion for music from a 14-year-old girl from anywhere. Those of us who have that true passion and are ever willing to let music take control of us are rare indeed. Ironically though it is something that anyone can have, if willing.
At her first performance it was said that “you are not from this era, you are from a whole other era” and the room filled with that very refrain! Even though she did not want to be known for it, Courtney became “the Janis Joplin girl”, not meant as a slight though and was not taken as such.
Through successive performances Courtney continued to stun and shock. People were starting to get her. She is not a crooner with a “golden throat” nor the next opera singer or anything like that. That is not the point to her at all. She is a classic rocker and a star entertainer. In fact, she almost channels, not because she copies anyone exactly, (far from it, she does her own thing), but because from within doing her own thing she sometimes takes on a near perfect persona of another artist, be it Janis Joplin, Mick Jagger, etc. It is all natural, nothing is rehearsed, that is to say according to her, she starts with an idea before hitting the stage, but then it all goes out the window and she just rolls with the music letting it take her. That is what is so enjoyable about watching her, that raw energy and the willing vessel she is to the music. She literally is a different person in that moment and as soon as it ends, she is Courtney Hadwin again.
So how good is this girl? Like I said, she is not a crooner or what have you, but she has soul! You have to have soul to do what she does, it can not be forcibly duplicated, I think that is also part of the appeal. To show this, Courtney was scheduled to do a duet with the new UK rock band The Struts. She did indeed duet with them for an original song they wrote, but then they went into one of the songs Janis Joplin made famous, “Take Another Piece of My Heart”. At that point, the singer took several steps back upon seeing something take Courtney over as he looked on in amazement and delight. Courtney was channeling. There were two distinct moments when she unknowingly reenacted two iconic pictures of Janice Joplin. (If you know your music history and watch the video closely, you will see it).
From the start sadly and only in the US, there were some bitter people who decided to try to delegitimize Courtney, calling her a fake referring to her real persona, calling her a cheat, etc. They even started a campaign against her! Some of the claims were that she was not a US citizen and was therefore unqualified, claims that she had already been on Britain’s Got Talent and that Simon knew her from there and was in some conspiracy to cheat, she was an actress, she came from a rich family, etc. (Some of the same stuff was said about Grace Vanderwal who won last year). First of all, over half the contestants on the show are not US citizens. So that lays waste to the whole citizenship argument.
Secondly, what most folks do not know is that apparently, there is some vetting that occurs behind the scenes. In other words, stories are checked. It turns out that Courtney never even attempted to get on Britain’s Got Talent because her family felt she would be widely misunderstood and further brutalized. You see, Courtney was on The Voice Kids UK when she was 11 years old (Simon Cowell is not part of that), but did not make the grade. As a result for reasons we will never figure out, she was bullied at school to the point of developing a social anxiety disorder.
So with herself and her parents and family believing that an attempt at BGT would not be welcoming and do further trauma, Courtney set her sights on America’s Got Talent believing that she would at least be understood. That notion paid off in more ways than one. Because she is into soulful music found in abundance in the 60s and early 70s in the US, yeah, the US audience for the most part understood her. In fact, she became adored, not just for her performances, but her demeanor throughout the journey. She is very gracious and humble. She even got close to some of the other contestants. Everyone likes her. She is grateful for the smallest things, unpretentious, etc. Even though she lost the competition, she is grateful and will maintain contact with some others from the show.
…….or did Courtney lose on AGT?
The answer is:…………..She did not lose, she won! While in reality most contestants end up winning contracts, etc. after the show, for Courtney it is a bit extra. It was found out that Courtney had been busking in the streets of the UK to try to pay back her dad for carting her around and get vocal coaching. Upon realizing this news and her loss, Simon and the producers of AGT got on the phone immediately and got Courtney a one week gig at Planet Hollywood in Vegas. (That’s two days longer than Shin Lin, the winner). The thinking behind it I believe, is to allow her to earn enough money to recover expenses and maybe a bit extra.
Many of the other contestants fell in love with Courtney and so did Tara Banks it seems who calls Courtney cute pet names. Even Shin Lin said on Ellen that he thought Courtney had the win. I think part of the problem was not so much the haters, but that not a lot of her fans voted thinking they could just sit back as she had it locked up. Had they voted, she would have won. (Yes, Shin Lin should have won as well, he is very amazing and a nice guy. So is the dance group Zurcaroh from Austria, they also should have won).
It has also been let known that Simon just got Courtney a recording contract as well. I feel this is a mistake for two major reasons: First of all recording contracts are tricky. I studied that side of the industry about a decade or so ago as I was involved with it a little for some artists. I don’t know what clauses he has in her contract, but I strongly feel that right now she is not at all ready for such a thing. She is not a recording artist at this time. She is a delightful and fantastic entertainer, but her voice is not done developing yet. A recording contract should wait until 18 years of age in her case and to do a record now could prove disastrous for her career. What was Simon thinking?
In all Courtney Hadwin is a wonderful sweet girl and very deserving of all good that comes her way. Keep teaching the rest of us and riding the journey that is music Courtney and do your own thing and let anybody try to stifle you!