Michael Ketterer wanted to sing on America’s Got Talent to inspire his six foster children. He did just that on Tuesday — and much more — earning himself an express ticket to the live round of competition after Simon Cowell rang the Golden Buzzer.
Ketterer, originally from East Tennessee, but now living in Orange County, California, told the judges that being a foster parent has been rewarding and he wanted to teach his children that if he could sing in front of millions on TV, they could also dream.
“When you’re surviving, you can’t dream. And that has been one of the most rewarding things, is providing them with a home and a safe environment, where they’re free to dream,” Ketterer said. “And so I’m here because I want to show them that if their dad can live out his dreams, then nothing is impossible for them.”
By then, the tears were already flowing.
With his wife and six children proudly looking on as the nervous dad began to sing, the entire audience was in awe as he brought down the house with a rousing, impassioned rendition of The Bee Gees’ “To Love Somebody.” Simon Cowell (was his voice wavering ever so slightly?) had a smile pasted on his face as he searched for the right words to praise the performance.
“When we find singers on this show, is it about being technical, or is it about being relevant? And sometimes, for me, it’s just about being real and a surprise,” Cowell said. “I think sometimes actions speak louder than words.”
With that, Cowell got up and slammed the Golden Buzzer, which sends Ketterer automatically to the next round — not that it was really in question. It was the second Golden Buzzer of season 13, after host Tyra Banks used hers to send an Australian acrobatic dance group on to the live round last week. Each judge gets one shot at the Golden Buzzer per season.
After, Cowell got up and called Ketterer and his family in for hugs and congratulations.
“Let me tell you. Something about your voice — I genuinely mean this — is special,” Cowell said. “And everything was perfect. You deserve that.”
Watch the performance below.