14-Year-Old Courtney Hadwin Wows on America’s Got Talent With Powerhouse Performance of “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”


In a world where everything seems so Instagram-friendly, sometimes you need to let your hair down, let your body go loose and scream. Or, if that’s not you, you might as well let singing sensation Courtney Hadwin do it for you.

Currently competing on this season’s “America’s Got Talent,” the singing dynamo let loose once again on Tuesday’s (Aug. 14) episode with her rendition of James Brown’s “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.” Shortly after her performance, the AGT judges gushed over her talents, with judge Heidi Klum saying “I have not been this excited about a new artist in a very, very long time. You definitely are in a category of your own.”

Heck, even the sometimes cranky Simon Cowell couldn’t say enough about the music phenom. “I’ve done these shows a long time and… you always remember that one performance where you go, ‘That’s gonna make a difference,'” Cowell told Entertainment Tonight after the show. “And that was one of those moments.”

So where exactly does this teen pull all this angst from?

“People at school didn’t really get my music,” the English high schooler shared in a pre-taped package that played before her performance. “Some would say I sang like a boy and that I was weird when I dance. I got the feeling that I should change and listen to everybody, but then I remembered that people like Janis Joplin, they didn’t listen to anybody. And they got what they wanted in the end.”

Tricia Despres
Tricia Despres is a Chicago-based freelance writer covering music and entertainment for nearly twenty years. Her work has appeared in publications such as the Chicago Sun-Times, Advertising Age and various regional publications. A country music fan at her core, Despres has interviewed country greats such as Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood through the years and thrives on telling the story behind the story. When she is not alongside her laptop, she is alongside her family - husband Paul and daughters Taylor and Amanda.