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Meet the Worship Leader Who Drove Simon Cowell to the Golden Buzzer

Father of five children earns Simon's golden buzzer

TOP VIDEO: You won't believe the voice that comes out of this father of 6. Michael Ketterer is a part-time worship leader, part-time pediatric nurse, and a full time father.See why Simon Cowell believes in Ketterer's dream. ✨ https://nbc4i.co/2JhFYfT

Posted by NBC4 on Monday, June 11, 2018


Worship leader Michael Ketterer just wowed the America’s Got Talent judges with his rendition of “To Love Somebody”. Ketterer so impressed the judges that Simon Cowell hit the “golden buzzer”, which guarantees a contestant a spot in the live (and final) rounds of the competition.

“My family’s the reason why I’m here,” a nervous Ketterer told the panel of judges moments before he sang. He shared briefly about his six children, five of whom were adopted out of foster care.

Ketterer told the judges that “providing them with a home and safe environment where they’re free to dream” has been “one of the most rewarding things”. He explained, “When you’re surviving you can’t dream.” The father of six wanted “to show them that if their dad can live out his dreams, then nothing’s impossible for them.”

After finishing his song to the raucous and emotional cheers of the crowd, Cowell told Ketterer “there’s something special about your voice.”

Michael Ketterer Probably Won’t Quit His Day Job

On their website, Influence Church in Anaheim Hills, California describes Ketterer as a “part-time worship leader, part-time pediatric nurse and full-time father”. Judging by how much he speaks about adoption and worshipping God on his social media pages, it doesn’t look like Ketterer will lay aside his normal duties to pursue a full-time career in music.

However, the father and nurse is no stranger to singing and songwriting. Before moving to California, Ketterer collaborated with the worship band United Pursuit and released five records with them.

In a music video for the song “Kingdom”, Ketterer speaks about the profound lessons adoption has taught him and his family. “All our kids have come from pretty desperate situations. Through the process of adoption, it has taught us so much about the father’s heart. He is not afraid of our brokenness. It doesn’t matter what we are or what we face, he is going to see us through to the very end.”

The Incredible Story of Michael Ketterer’s Adopted Children

The Ketterer’s adopted children came out of very desperate situations. Three brothers were born into a household where meth was being produced. One of his sons complained regularly of stomach aches after they adopted him, and the couple discovered he had previously eaten rocks in an attempt to fill his empty stomach. Another, Rodrigo, “Rodee” suffers from cerebral palsy, caused by shaken infant syndrome. Ketterer shares Rodee couldn’t speak when the family first got him, but really enjoyed music. Ketterer spent a lot of time communicating to him through song, and now Rodee is able to speak. Another son, Shawn, came to the Ketterers after being homeless for a time.

If adopting this number of children isn’t incredible enough, though, Ketterer told more of his family’s story while being interviewed on America’s Got Talent. Ketterer shared that he and his wife, Ivey, got married young and became pregnant with their oldest child, Sophia. During the pregnancy, both Ivey and Sophia got really sick; the doctors told Ketterer neither were likely to make it through the night. Ketterer prayed and miraculously, both Ivey and Sophia pulled through. As a young child, Sophia started having dreams of three boys that needed to be adopted. After going through the application process to adopt, the first call the Ketterers received was for three little boys. Shawn and Rodee came later.

On August 14, Ketterer will return to America’s Got Talent to compete for the $1 million prize. If he wins, Ketterer plans on using the money to buy a house that is more handicap-accessible so his son, Rodee, can move around more freely at home.