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