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Posted on Thu, Jan 17, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

Ann Arbor singer-songwriter gets a chance at 'American Idol'

By Bob Needham


Keri Lynn Roche

Singer-songwriter-musician Keri Lynn Roche may not be the next "American Idol," but she gave it a shot.

Roche, of Ann Arbor, might catch a glimpse of herself on tonight's episode of the popular TV singing competition as it covers auditions that took place in Chicago last year. She went to Chicago, got positive feedback from the judges, and did well enough to be invited to go to the next round in California.

However, that's as far as she got. But being placed in the top 200 or so contestants out of the thousands auditioning is still an accomplishment. And a combination of her singing talent and compelling background—including overcoming addiction—might just land her some time in the national spotlight tonight.

Roche explained in an email that she initially was no fan of "Idol" and similar shows: "My initial response to reality TV and singing competitions was not all that positive. I assumed most of it (was) bogus, with self-righteously opinionated "stars" shaping and stunting the fate of people with real talent. I always felt it was a packaged product that I never wanted to be sealed into."

But at the urging of her mother, Roche made the trip to Chicago, arriving at United Center at 5 a.m.—then waiting 11 and a half hours with thousands of other hopefuls.

"All you could hear were a thousand different voices all wanting to be 'that one,' unique enough, loud enough, brave enough to be recognized to stay. I quickly learned that I was surrounded with like-minded people with the same passion and appreciation for music and singing as I am for their gift which was way more than I thought I signed up for. I made friends that day and it was a beautiful thing," she wrote.

She said she told "Idol" producers and host Ryan Seacrest that a drug addiction and related fallout delayed her dreams of pursuing a music career. "I found a way out and there is a sense of responsibility that I have to share that miracle," she wrote.

Roche performed Patsy Cline's "Walkin' After Midnight" and said she got strong response from the judges—enough to be sent on to Hollywood. There, she sang Nina Simone's "Feeling Good" but was eliminated from the competition.

Since I have been home, back in Ann Arbor I have been working at my job again at Underground Printing, hanging with my friends and still playing the guitar, writing and singing any chance I can get. I would try again, given the oppurtinity but right now I am having fun doing my thing and writing music."

Watch for a possible appearance by Roche on "American Idol," airing 8-10 p.m. today on Fox. Roche is slated to be featured on the "Tree Town Sound" radio show, airing 6-7 p.m. Sunday on WQKL, 107.1-FM. For more information, check out her Facebook page.



Sun, Jan 20, 2013 : 2:55 p.m.

So it is in the life of a musician. . . I once knew an amazing musician that believed that prosperity in the music "business" was as likely as winning a lottery jackpot. . . Said musician referred to musical business success as winning the musician's lotto. Thankfully, most musicians learn, play, and perform to make music. Of course, they would like to make money, as well. The message? Persist! Follow your muse! Continue learning, practicing, playing, and performing. Best wishes in music and prosperity to Ms. Roche, as well as other area musicians.

Edward Green

Fri, Jan 18, 2013 : 6:03 p.m.

Wow American Idol? That's like the Julliard of reality tv.


Fri, Jan 18, 2013 : 1:23 p.m.

This headline is misleading. "Gets a chance" implies that she is still in the competition. Nevertheless, good luck to Keri on her future musical endeavors

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Jan 18, 2013 : 7:11 p.m.

Depends how you read it Squirrel, in the present I understand what you're saying; however, per the context of Bob's story on Keri I think it is still a fitting term as she did have a shot at the show by receiving an invitation. Thanks for you feedback though. Also, I personally know a couple individuals who had similar experiences as Keri who were cut then tried out for the show again in another season and progressed further in the competition. Hopefully that's the case for Keri in the future!

Bob Needham

Fri, Jan 18, 2013 : 1:14 p.m.

Well, they didn't show her last night, but there's still a chance she might get some screen time when they do the Hollywood round. We'll certainly post something if she does.


Fri, Jan 18, 2013 : 12:47 a.m.

I guess she was shot down,............ ................ by the judges..................... for not seeing talent there.

Lizzy Alfs

Fri, Jan 18, 2013 : 12:36 a.m.

Congrats, Keri!

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Jan 17, 2013 : 10:20 p.m.

What is this american idol thing you speak of?

music to my ear

Thu, Jan 17, 2013 : 10:31 p.m.

seriously ?


Thu, Jan 17, 2013 : 8:51 p.m.

We are proud of you!! Hey Jeff Daniels, help this young lady out!!!


Thu, Jan 17, 2013 : 8:49 p.m.

This came across in the 3 at 3 email alert as "Ann Arbor woman gets shot...." (rest truncated since one line). I see that the actual article title has been edited but in the future let's try not to use these words, I don't need anymore stress.

Julie Baker

Thu, Jan 17, 2013 : 8:55 p.m.

Definitely not intentional. Our apologies for the scare!


Thu, Jan 17, 2013 : 8:42 p.m.

Well too bad she did not make it all the way as those judges would not know talent if it kicked them in the eye, I am sure she was just as good as the ones that wen to Cali last night the judges sent all the good ones home, who made them judge? Simone Cow needs to recall all of the judges and kick Nicki no talent out