Michael Ketterer, a pediatric mental health nurse, was awarded the Golden Buzzer after a show-stopping performance during America’s Got Talent auditions. His soulful rendition of the Bee Gees’ To Love Somebody was made even more special by his reason for entering the contest. At the end of the clip, I had tears in my eyes, and I doubt there were many dry eyes in the audience that night.

Michael Ketterer, from Orange County, California, is the devoted father of six children, of whom five are adopted. “My family is the reason I am here,” explained Michael before his performance. “My children came out of foster care. When you’re surviving, you can’t dream. So, I’m here because I want to show them that if Dad can live out his dreams, then nothing is impossible.”

“My children came out of foster care. When you’re surviving you can’t dream. So, I’m here because I want to show them that if Dad can live out his dreams then nothing is impossible.”

Michael was visibly nervous, closing his eyes to gather himself before he started his slow and moving rendition of the touching song. In the end, the crowd gave him a roaring ovation.

“When we find singers on these shows, is it about being technical? Or it at about being relevant? Sometimes, for me, it’s just about being real,” said Simon Cowell. “And a surprise, to be honest with you, you were so nervous I was concerned for you.” And then Simon slammed the golden buzzer which leapfrogged Michael straight to the live shows of the contest.


As the golden confetti descended on the stage, Michael’s family ran on to congratulate him. There were lots of exuberant smiles as Michael shared a hug with his wife and each one of his six kids. Even Simon Cowell joined them on stage where he told Michael “Let me tell you, something. Your voice – I genuinely mean this – is special and everything was perfect. You deserve it. I really mean that.”

“I feel like when I watch you and listen to you, I just want to be, you know, a fraction of the human being that I believe you are,” said judge Howie Mandel. “You’re a great performer, and you’re a star human being.” This statement is supported by a comment on the YouTube video clip of the performance. The lady writes that her mom had worked with Michael and had told her for years that he was a great father and an even better person.

Let’s all support and hold thumbs for Michael for the next rounds of America’s Got Talent.

Frieda Paton is a registered nurse with a Master’s degree in nursing education. Her passion for nursing education, nursing issues and advocacy for the profession were ignited while she worked as an education officer, and later editor, at a national nurses’ association. This passion, together with interest in health and wellness education since her student days, stayed with her throughout her further career as a nurse educator and occupational health nurse. Having reached retirement age, she continues to contribute to the profession as a full-time freelance writer. In the news and feature articles she writes for Nurseslabs, she hopes to inspire nursing students and nurses on the job to reflect on the trends and issues that affect their profession and communities - and play their part in advocacy wherever they find themselves.

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