OPERATION Rising Star, the annual singing contest for U.S. military personnel and Family members, was originally licensed through Freemantle Media to mirror Fox’s most popular TV show, “American Idol,” complete with a trip to Hollywood for the winner.

The production begins with local competitions on installations and at garrisons around the world. From the local winners, a panel of judges selects 12 semifinalists who travel to Fort Belvoir, Va., for a weeklong competition televised by the Pentagon Channel and webcast worldwide on the Internet.

“American Idol” vocal coach Debra Byrd, country music artist Michael Peterson and the 12th Sgt. Maj. of the Army Jack L. Tilley served as judges. They have been joined in a musical chair of celebrity judges including Josh Gracin, Kimberly Caldwell, Kandi Burruss and Jaci Velasquez.

Viewers get to vote online for their favorite performers, who are narrowed to three finalists by the third of four shows during finals week. Following that show, the winner is announced at a reveal show.

Operation Rising Star champions earn a trip to California, usually during Grammy Week, to record a three-song demo album at Firehouse Recording Studios in Pasadena.

The contest is open to all military and their Family members, 18-and-older. For more information visit www.oprisingstar.com.

Page last updated Tue May 31st, 2011 at 00:00