By STEVE EIGHINGER
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Jared Keim earned a ticket to St. Louis almost eight months ago, and now he has a ticket to Hollywood — a golden ticket, to be exact, from the nation's No. 1 television show, Fox's "American Idol."
Keim, who lives in Hannibal, Mo., and attended Palmyra High School, impressed judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson enough during auditions in St. Louis to advance to the next round, earning the coveted "golden ticket" to "Hollywood Week." If Keim survives the Hollywood auditions, which will involve about 300 contestants, he will be part of the semifinal round of between 20 and 30 remaining singers.
"Hollywood Week" was taped last fall, but all contestants are bound to secrecy as to whether they advanced or not. The semifinal round of "American Idol," which is live, will begin either in late February or early March.
Contestants also are bound to secrecy as to whether or not they advanced to Hollywood Week. The St. Louis auditions were televised Thursday night. Soon afterward, Keim's success became known.
On his Facebook page, Keim wrote Thursday night, "Judging by 673 text messages and over 300 Facebook notifications, I guess the secret is out! I made it to Hollywood! I thank God for blessing me in my journey! Thank you for all the kind words."
Keim also wrote what he sang for the Idol judges.
"I sang ‘When You Believe' by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, but I did it more like David Archuleta's version."
Keim was the winner of June's Tri-States Idol contest at QU-Stadium, which guaranteed him a performance in front of "American Idol" producers in St. Louis.
Keim wowed the judges in Quincy with his interpretation of "When You Believe" by David Archuleta during the finals of the annual talent search, which was sponsored by WGEM and Reed Promotional Media.
Keim attends Moberly Area Community College and is studying for a career in engineering.
Also, Ethan Jones, a member of the popular regional band Well Hungarians from St. Louis, received a ticket to Hollywood and some face time on American Idol last night. The Well Hungarians are set to perform Saturday at Johnny Bang Bangs in Quincy.