Bakersfield's own "Idol," Jim Ranger, father of three and worship pastor, impressed the main judges of American Idol Season 9 with his "authentic" voice when he belted out his original song, "Drive." After auditioning in Los Angeles, this family man made it to the coveted Hollywood Week. Although he did not go on to next round of the competition, he has no regrets.
"I prayed going into Hollywood week that if this was the best thing for me and my family, may God kick the door wide open, and if it wasn't, then slam it shut!" Ranger says. "Prayer answered, and I am completely at peace with that. I love what I do here in Bakersfield. I get to be a part of peoples' lives and lead worship."
Jim tried out for American Idol's Season 8 after friends raised money for him to fly to New Jersey, but he didn't make it. This season, he auditioned with his brother, Jon, and they both made it through the first preliminary round. Jim went on to sing his own song, "Drive," for the main judges. For the next segment he played acoustic guitar and sang Maroon 5's "Sunday Morning." Although Randy told him, "I liked you the first time I saw you, and I liked you this time," he did not advance.
"I didn't make it through. I can't tell you why, but I am good with it," Jim says. "I sang the song well and I left it all out there on the stage. I have no regrets."
Jim has been married to his wife Camilla for seven years and they have three children, Laila, 5, Caden, 4, and Deagan, 1. He has worked as a worship leader and musical director at New Life Center on Stine with his father and mother, James and Lydia Ranger, for the past five years. Prior to his current position, he spent three years as an assistant worship leader for three years at New Life Church in Arkansas.
Born in Newport, Arkansas, Jim was raised in Bakersfield and started singing at the age of four. His mother and father traveled around the country in an RV singing and preaching. He and Jon performed songs on stage. Jim received his first call to lead worship at 14 years old.
You can see Jim's live performances of his song, "Drive," on www.Bakotopia.com or www.krab.com. His album, "Remember," is on iTunes and available at New Life Center. For more information about his church, please visit www.bakersfieldnlc.org or call 831-2727.