A couple who helped nurtured the singing talent of teenager Courtney Hadwin say that "she is a winner anyway" whether she emerges victorious from the final of America's Got Talent or not.
Courtney, 14, wowed judges again in the finale of the series last night with her rendition of Tina Turner's River Deep - Mountain High.
She was given a standing ovation for her performance while judge Howie Mandel told her she is a "superstar in the making".
Ian and Dawn McManus, the founders of Hartlepool creative hub Kyle's Dream in the town, worked with Courtney through the musical charity Red Dreams.
Ian today spoke of his pride at her progress.
"She has been fantastic," said Ian.
"She's a very shy girl but so grounded, as is her family.
"It's unbelievable to see her on that stage.
"I saw that her audition video got 70 million views which is something you just can't comprehend.
"Courtney actually came to see us after she got through the earlier rounds.
"She had no airs and graces at all, it's as if she can't believe what's happened.
"But she stayed for ages to have her picture taken with people and speak."
Ian added that he is now backing Courtney, a pupil at The Academy at Shotton Hall, to win the competition.
"She's a winner anyway to us," he said.
"But it would be phenomenal if she managed to do it.
"Either way, if she does win or not, she has gone beyond what anyone expected.
"I think she will win though."