SINGING sensation Courtney Hadwin, who has become famous all over the world after her America's Got Talent golden buzzer performance, has spoken about her final preparations before she heads back to the States.

The 14-year-old impressed judges on the show earlier this year with her rendition of Otis Redding's Hard To Handle, gaining a fast-track into the live shows. Her powerful performance has now been viewed on Youtube over 44m times.

And on Friday, the schoolgirl made the trip to High Mickley to Julie Miles' Vocal Ovation studio, for her final vocal session before she returned to America this week in time for the live shows.

Friday marked three years to the day since Courtney, from Hesleden, near Peterlee, began her coaching with Julie. The pair have been working once a fortnight on her vocal stamina, range and song choices.

Courtney said she has also been practising for the live shows at home every day, and going for runs to help with her energy levels and breathing techniques.

She explained her amazement when judge Howie Mandel pressed the golden buzzer.

"It didn't feel real; it was like watching someone else," she said.

But Julie put her success down to hard work. She added: "She's got a very clear image and idea of who she wants to be and certainly who she doesn't want to be.

"She has been very clear about what her goals are, and even if she hasn't necessarily known how to achieve them, she knows what she wants.

"In the past people have told her to sing things more suited to her age, but she has stuck to her guns and I have too, and she has just worked incredibly hard."

While their lips remained sealed about what song we can expect, Courtney hinted: "It's going to be a classic song with a lot of energy and a bit funky."

Julie, who will be cheering Courtney on in the audience, added: "It's very Courtney."

The live shows begin on August 14, although it has not yet been announced which week Courtney will appear.