British teenager Courtney Hadwin has reached the final of America’s Got Talent.
The 14-year-old, from the village of Hesleden, County Durham, was one of five acts to make it through from Wednesday’s semi-finals after winning a public vote.
They joined five other acts who had already advanced. The semi-final, held at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre, was opened with a performance from K-pop superstars BTS.
The group was greeted by screaming fans as they performed their hit single Idol.
Courtney appeared emotional when she was told she was through and thanked her father, Paul, who was waiting backstage.
During the first leg of the semi-final on Tuesday, Courtney performed a cover of Steppenwolf’s 1969 hit Born To Be Wild, leading judge Simon Cowell to praise her as a “bundle of excitement” and a “maniac”.
Cowell’s fellow judge, Howie Mandel, had used his golden buzzer on Courtney earlier in the season, meaning she skipped a stage and went straight through to the live shows.
Following her semi-final performance, he said: “You were born to be wild! This was wild! You were amazing. My prediction is you’re going to be the winner.”
Model Heidi Klum, the third judge, was also impressed and said the schoolgirl was “authentic and original”.
However, Spice Girl Mel B thought Courtney looked nervous. Courtney is widely considered the favourite in the competition, after impressing judges with covers of Otis Redding’s Hard To Handle and James Brown‘s Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag.
The winner of America’s Got Talent season 13 will be crowned during a two-night final beginning on September 18.