Ace Young Rocks in Grand Rapids

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Ace Young wants to know whether he's really connecting with his fans.

"I need to know if 'it' is working," he said to The Grand Rapids Press before meeting nearly 1,200 fans who congregated Saturday outside Van Andel Arena.

Ace Young Rocks in Grand Rapids
At least two fans believe Young's link with his fans is in fine form.

"He represents everybody, and he's so down to earth," said Michelle Flint, 26, of Grand Rapids, who was waiting to meet the former American Idol contestant before his appearance at the first intermission of the Grand Rapids Griffins hockey game.

"Ace is so nice, and he hasn't let his fame go to his head," said Brittany Duba, 18, of Grand Rapids.

Young, who finished seventh during last season's American Idol contest, was excited about sharing songs old and new with the sold-out crowd.

"I'm singing 'Scattered,' my first single, and 'Dream On' by Aerosmith," he said. "I want my fans to know you can always dream for the future."

As much as the Denver native is thrilled about performing and writing music with Desmond Child for a forthcoming album, his greatest joy is in giving back through his charitable efforts.

"On my website, I feature some kids with cancer, and one of them, McKenzie, is 3, and she just relapsed and needs a bone marrow transplant," he said.

"To see so many of my fans get tested to see if they are a match is amazing."

Because of his brother's car accident ten years ago, Young is especially sensitive to the needs of families with hospitalized children.

Along with his fan club, Highrollers with Heart, Young has raised more then $80,000 for a "family amenities" area at Denver Children's Hospital.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.