When thirteen-year-old vocalist Courtney Hadwin auditioned for America’s Got Talent in 2019, the four judges—Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Mel B, and Heidi Klum—clearly didn’t have great hopes for her. Mel B tried to soothe the adolescent by saying, “Don’t be nervous,” after she confessed that she was feeling anxious. There are a lot of people here, and I realize this is a large stage. Good luck, and remember that you’re not here by accident.

Turns out Courtney was completely self-sufficient. Juries were taken aback by the young girl’s remarkable voice, which had previously appeared timid and insecure. Their jaws dropped as she began singing, delivering her own scorching and soulful rendition of “Too Hot To Handle” by Otis Redding. She also gave an incredibly self-assured performance, dancing madly about the stage like it was second nature.

However, Courtney was about to experience the cherry on top of her achievement. Judge Howie Mandel was so enamored with her voice that he opted to press his golden buzzer, sending her straight to the quarter-finals of America’s Got Talent. Simon Cowell, visibly astonished, told her, “you were this shy little thing when you came out, and then you sing and you’re like a lion.” He also stated, “Oh my gosh, you’re not from this era,” as he was obviously amazed, “you’re from a whole different era.”

Unfortunately, Courtney did not take home the grand prize on America’s Got Talent; she placed tenth. But she did deliver a slew of other jaw-droppingly excellent performances all through the competition, including a rip-roaring cover of “Nutbush City Limits” by Tina Turner in the final. After watching her, Howie said, “You are on fire, you’re amazing, you’re a superstar.” The last statement was undoubtedly the most fitting way to characterize the young woman’s remarkable singing abilities and magnetic personality.