It takes a lot of nerve to walk into an American Idol audition and cover a Carrie Underwood song. After all, Underwood is Idol‘s greatest success story. But, it takes even more nerve to be from Carrie Underwood’s hometown and sing a classic song that she revived during her Idol run.
But, Underwood’s fellow Checotah, Oklahoma, native Kenedee Rittenhouse was unfazed by the challenge. When she was only a fifth-grader, Kenedee shared the stage with Carrie Underwood during a school assembly.
“I happened to sing a Carrie song, then Carrie walked out,” Rittenhouse told her local newspaper. “I was starstruck. She asked if I wanted to sing with her. I can barely remember it. Just the experience of singing with her really made me realize that was what I wanted to do when I grew up.”
As she stood in front of the judging panel during Monday night’s auditions, Rittenhouse was confident in her ability to pull Carrie Underwood’s version of the Randy Travis classic “I Told You So.”
Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan were immediately drawn to Rittenhouse’s outgoing personality and Idol-esque appearance, but weren’t won over by her voice, at first.
“Kenedee, you look like an American Idol. Your personality is everything. But, your voice just isn’t knocking me completely out of the park,” Luke Bryan said. “When you choose Carrie Underwood, you’ve got to be with Carrie or even beyond.”
Kenedee was then challenged to sing Katy Perry’s hit “Firework.” Again the judges weren’t blown away by the performance, but heard enough potential in her voice to move her on to the next round in Hollywood.
Hear Kenedee Rittenhouse sing “I Told You So” in the video below and let us know what you think of her audition!