The Next Carrie Underwood? American Idol Contestant Points to Hometown Hero and the 'Grace of God'

Kenedee Rittenhouse
Photo Credit: Kenedee Rittenhouse via Facebook
A new season of American Idol is coming to ABC for a revival just two years after their "farewell season" on FOX.
While many new fresh faces will take the stage in hopes of becoming the next big thing, one aspiring superstar has deep roots with well-known alumni of the show.
Kenedee Rittenhouse was in the fifth grade when she got the opportunity that she says "would change my life forever."
The young small-town girl was invited to sing on stage at her school in Checotah, Oklahoma, for an impromptu duet with American Idol Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood.

Underwood had traveled to her hometown in 2009 with the Academy of Country Music for a surprise visit just four years after winning the show and rising to stardom.
Underwood said, "I heard somebody singing and everybody got really quiet, and it was this little girl I never met her before named Kenedee and she was singing 'So Small' and so I knew she knew the words, so I decided to bring her up and have her help me out."

Now, nearly 10 years later, that fifth grader with a dream is all grown up and being highlighted in American Idol's upcoming season that premiers Sunday, March 11.
In a special tease for the show, American Idol asks, "Checotah can you do it twice? Cheer on Kenedee Rittenhouse on her journey to try and become your second #AmericanIdol."
The 20-year-old says in the video, "I'm auditioning for American Idol because I want to show America that Checotah can produce TWO country music singers. Carrie did it once, and I'm ready to make it a round two."
She continues, "Carrie is proof that if you follow your passions, your dreams really can come true."

A post shared by Kenedee Rittenhouse (@kenritt) on

"I am beyond blessed to have been able to experience such an amazing opportunity and journey," Rittenhouse writes in a Facebook post.
Rittenhouse has been open about her faith on her social media pages, sharing pictures of her singing at Vesica Piscis Chapel outside of Tulsa and sharing faith-inspired images.
"I am asking for prayers for the next few weeks, I have been working so hard and its finally paying off but I still have a long road ahead. I never thought I'd truly be able to experience this opportunity, it still seems so unreal. I am so grateful and excited for what's to come in the near future. I wouldn't be where I am without the grace of God, my family and friends," she writes.

The judging panel for American Idol's new season includes Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie. The show's original host, Ryan Seacrest, will also be returning.

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