Following the first round of the America's Got Talent quarterfinals on Tuesday, 14-year-old vocal phenom Courtney Hadwin emerged as one of the show's major frontrunners with a jaw-dropping performance of James Brown's "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag."
On Thursday, after moving on to the semifinals on Wednesday's AGT results show, Hadwin sat down for a Facebook Live interview with ET's Denny Directo, and opened up about her biggest musical influences -- one of whom is the late, great Aretha Franklin.
"Over the years, I've learned so much from her music," Hadwin said of the Queen of Soul, who died on Thursday at the age of 76. "She actually brought me into this kind of music."
For Hadwin -- whose favorite track from Franklin's vast catalog of classics is the iconic 1968 tune "Think" -- the legendary diva was one of her biggest inspirations. In fact, when asked who she'd most like to perform with, living or dead, Franklin's name was in good company, alongside Brown and Janis Joplin.
Speaking of Brown, it was the Godfather of Soul himself who first sparked Hadwin's passion for funk, folk and soul in the first place.
"I just watched a James Brown video of him singing 'I Feel Good,' and then I kind of just copied off his moves," the young singer recalled. "But I couldn't do them properly, so they turned into my own moves."
And it's her wild, unconventional dance moves -- coupled with her astounding voice -- that has made such an impact on the judges. Looking at the quiet, unimposing young performer, you'd never assume she could deliver such a musical explosion. However, as Hadwin has said in the past, "when I hear music, I come alive. I feel electrified. I just get into the music and I start moving."
Speaking with ET, Hadwin explained how she usually comes up with light choreography for how she'd like to dance during a performance, but it often turns to improv.
"When I'm on stage and I feel the music, it kinda sometimes just changes," she explained.
Reflecting on her time on America's Got Talent, Hadwin admitted that she never thought she'd get this far, and certainly didn't expect to get the Golden Buzzer from Howie Mandel during the auditions, after her jawdropping cover of Otis Redding's "Hard to Handle."
"When Howie hit the Golden Buzzer, I just didn't expect it at all. When I went into the competition, I thought I was gonna get the red buzzers," Hadwin recalled. "Back in England, when I did The Voice Kids… most people didn't get me as much as they did when I came to America."
Now, as she moves on to the semifinals, she's one step closer to the grand prize of $1 million and a 10-week headlining show at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. However, that's not at the forefront of Hadwin's mind.
"I haven't really thought about winning AGT," she admitted. "I just think that I should be in the competition to have fun, and whatever happens happens for a reason."
For more on the young songstress' epic quarterfinals performance earlier this week, check out the video below.
America's Got Talent airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
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