• Michael Ketterer received the Golden Buzzer from Simon Cowell on "America's Got Talent"
• He has adopted six children, five of whom were adopted from the foster care system
• He was arrested on a domestic violence charge after the finale, which he claims was a misunderstanding
• He has released an album and an extended playlist
• He ministers through worship music and his service to his church and family
Rise to Fame
In 2018, Michael Ketterer walked onto the set of “America’s Got Talent” to audition for a spot in the talent competition’s 13th season. He was evidently nervous, admittedly so, as he answered a few questions from Simon Cowell. A few deep breaths after he was given the stage to earn his place as a contestant on the show, Michael launched into a performance that had tears falling down the faces of most of the audience. A close-up of the judges had them looking at Michael in awe, enthralled and emotional as his soul spoke the words of the Bee Gees’ “To Love Somebody” through his voice. The raw emotion in his voice, which was also written all over his face, drove Michael’s children to tears as they watched their father sing about light and love.
As soon as Michael got to the third verse, the crowd was on its feet applauding the talented singer while swaying to the tune he sang. The judges joined the audience in giving Michael a standing ovation. Spice Girl Mel B noted that Michael sings from his soul while Heidi Klum admitted being blown away by the incredible performance. When Simon’s chance to share his views about the performance came, he pressed the button that sent Michael to the live shows, guaranteeing him a spot in the semifinals, and launched him into the world as a talented singer who speaks to the soul through his voice. As his wife ran onto the stage to share her husband’s joy over receiving the Golden Buzzer, confetti fell on the happy couple, Michael’s rise to fame began.
“America’s Got Talent”
After an incredible audition that made him one of the few contestants to receive the Golden Buzzer from the fastidious Simon Cowell, Michael returned to the stage ready to deliver a performance that would make Simon proud for believing in him and his talent. At the quarter-finals, he sang James Bay’s “Us.” Michael had the crowd go silent as soon as he belted out the first verse. His performance was proof that his ability to sing to the soul of every person who heard him sing at the auditions was not a one-time thing. He pulled at the souls of his audience with a voice that spoke to the heart and words that had his audience thinking about losing the love that gives meaning to their lives.
As Michael came to the end of his performance and sang the last note, he received a standing ovation from the judges and audience. Mel B and Simon Cowell were in tears, reflecting the emotions he drew from them through his voice and the words of James Bay. An emotional Simon showed his vulnerable side as he cried on live television while telling Michael how special he was. Mel B fought back tears and reported crying as soon as Michael sang the first note. The moving reviews of his singing and dedication to his family had Michael in tears as he talked about his family. The performance has over 7.7 million views on YouTube and 2771 comments praising the beautiful performance and Michael’s ability to bare his soul to his audience.
Another amazing #GoldenBuzzer on America's Got Talent! Good pick Simon Cowell 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
Posted by Heidi Klum on Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Michael chose “When I Look at You” by Miley Cyrus for his performance at the semifinals. Naturally, he had the crowd on its feet as soon as he finished his performance. When asked what the song meant to him, Michael, who was teary-eyed during the performance, dedicated the song to his wife for being his partner and raising their children with him. Mel B praised Michael for his touching performances while Heidi Klum noted that Michael got better with every performance. While praising Michael’s performance for the third time since the audition, Simon set up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the talented singer by making a live appeal to Garth Brooks to write a song for Michael’s performance at the finals. The audience loved Michael’s performance and voted for him to advance to the finals.
In the finals, Michael chose to perform Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t No Mountain High.” He did not disappoint his audience as he delivered another soulful and emotional performance that earned him a standing ovation. However, for the first time on the show, Michael received some negative feedback on his music from Heidi Klum, who reported hearing Michael’s nerves as he performed, and Mel B, who was booed by the crowd after stating that she was unsure whether Michael’s performance was as good as his past performances. The booing from the crowd meant the audience disagreed with Mel B, which was confirmed when Michael received enough votes to secure his place as one of the eleven contestants who would proceed to the finale the following weekend.
Garth Brooks answered Simon’s call and wrote a song for Michael to perform at the finale. Garth paid homage to Michael’s character trait of speaking from his heart through his music and wrote the contestant a song entitled “The Courage to Love.” Naturally, Michael’s performance of the original song earned him a well-deserved standing ovation according to Simon, who thanked Garth Brooks for writing the masterpiece and Michael for the incredible way he brought the song to life. The performance earned Michael a spot on the top five contestants after beating Howie Mandel’s Golden Buzzer recipient Courtney Hadwin to become the only singer in the Top Five. Unfortunately, Michael didn’t win the competition, however, his long stint in “America’s Got Talent” earned him worldwide recognition for his musical talent, big heart, and ability to combine the two to deliver powerful and raw emotional performances that drove the audience to tears.
Work and Family Life
Besides talent, Michael brought inspiration to the stage of “America’s Got Talent.” Michael and his wife, Ivey, have six children – one daughter is their biological child, while their five boys are all adopted. Michael’s wife almost died while giving birth to their daughter, and unwilling to risk her life again, the couple decided to adopt more children, particularly after their daughter started having dreams about three boys in danger – the three boys turned out to be a set of triplets who were found abandoned in a trailer. Michael and his family took them in and adopted them, calling the triplets “The Wolf Pack.”
The Ketterers adopted two more boys – Rodee, has cerebral palsy after his former caregiver fractured his skull by throwing him into a wall. Michael almost gave the boy to the state, but decided to keep and raise him as his son. Rodee has since recovered part of his bodily functions such as sight, speech and hearing, and can walk. The last member of Michael’s family is Shawn, who the family adopted after Ivey had a dream about a little boy who would become her son. Michael drew his inspiration for his performances on “AGT” from his love for his wife and children, who accompanied him to the show from his first appearance at the auditions to his last appearance at the finale.
Before he decided to pursue music by auditioning for “America’s Got Talent,” Michael was a pediatric mental health nurse. He chose the career to pursue his lifelong passion for helping children through the adverse physical and mental effects of childhood trauma. His passion for his work led him to adopt five children out of foster care and become an ambassador for Jockey Being Family, the network through which he and Ivey adopted the triplets, Rodrigo, and Shawn. He has continued his work with children as a pediatric mental health nurse, despite gaining fame from the show, and having the opportunity to pursue music full-time.
Domestic Violence Controversy
On the night of the Awards show, where Michael emerged fifth, he was arrested on a domestic violence charge. Michael and his wife had retired to their hotel after the finale when an argument ensued between them, which prompted the hotel’s management to call the police, who arrived at the scene and arrested Michael after noticing a visible red mark on Ivey’s skin. Michael was released from police custody after posting bail, which was set at $50,000. Michael later cleared up the rumors of his domestic violence charge with claims that he was arrested following a misunderstanding, adding that his wife did not file charges after the incident.
Garth Brooks says #AGT finalist Michael Ketterer, who was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence last week, will no longer be performing with him at his upcoming concert: https://t.co/fKUEPRrOjF pic.twitter.com/OjR3jwdi9T
— Access Hollywood (@accesshollywood) September 25, 2018
Michael paid a hefty price for his arrest. After writing a song for Michael, Garth Brooks invited the prodigy to perform with him at a concert at the Notre Dame Stadium on October 20. Days after the incident, Garth Brooks canceled the “AGT” finalist’s appearance over the incident that Michael termed a misunderstanding. Michael’s fans came to his defense, insisting that he was innocent and accusing Garth Brooks of punishing the Ketterer patriarch unfairly. Unfortunately, Michael did not recover his spot in Garth’s concert. He and Ivey continue to raise their six children while working with Jockey Being Family, to help more people like them adopt children from the foster care agency.
Albums and Original Music
Michael has released an album and an extended playlist. His album is entitled “Love/War/Solar System” and features tracks such as “Shout It,” “Count Your Lovin,” and “The Rock.” His extended playlist features five songs including, “One and Only,” “Brightest Arrow,” Golden Youth,” “Still Here,” and “Without Love.” He releases music either individually or in collaboration with “Influence Music,” a Christian artist collective comprising artists who are members of Influence Church in Anaheim Hills, California. The artists include Michael alongside Matt Gilman, Whitney Medina, and Melody Noel.
The quartet is famous for its song “Spirit Lead Me,” which has Michael leading the rest of the group in the worship song and has gained 24 million views on YouTube in the past four years. Other songs by the group which feature Michael as the lead vocalist, include “Rebels,” the group’s rendition of Hillsong’s popular worship songs “Shout to the Lord” and “What a Beautiful Name,” and “Kingdom.” Michael has also worked with the iconic worship leader and songwriter Kim Walker-Smith on a rendition of “Spirit Lead Me and “Spirit Break Out” and featured United Pursuit, an American contemporary worship music band, on two singles entitled “Pressing on” and “Wild One.” Some of Michael’s most played singles include “Without Love” and “Dusty Road.”
Michael Ketterer was a Christian worship leader before the 13th season of “AGT.” After the competition, he went back to his life of ministry, w begins at home, where he and his family sing and pray together. He ministers beyond his home through his music and service to his church as a renowned worship leader. He has consistently led the congregation at Influence Church in worship sings every Sunday, guided by his group’s mantra “Voice of Many, Voice of One. Together with Influence Music, other groups, and individuals such as Kim Smith-Walker, Michael uses social media platforms such as YouTube to bring together and minister to Christians from all over the world through worship music. Michael has dedicated his life to helping others and hopes to continue his ministry, service to his family, and his work in advancing the protection and well-being of children.