SAN ANTONIO (Army News Service, Nov. 30, 2012) -- Bo Bice, the singer who finished runner-up to Carrie Underwood in American Idol's fourth season before charting smash hits and videos of his own, will perform during the 2012 Operation Rising Star Live Finals Dec. 8-15 at Fort Sam Houston Theatre.

Bice will be joined by guest recording artists The Main Squeeze and R.L., along with 2011 Operation Rising Star winner Melissa Neal. Each will appear on different shows during finals week of the Army Morale, Welfare and Recreation-sponsored military singing contest based on the premises of "American Idol."

The shows will be recorded in front of a live audience by the Pentagon Channel on Joint Base San Antonio Fort Sam Houston at 7 p.m. Dec. 8, 10, 12 and 14, with a 5:30 p.m. reveal show Dec. 15 to crown the champion.

Bice will perform Dec. 10. The Main Squeeze is set for Dec. 12. R.L. is the Dec. 14 guest artist, and Neal will perform during the Dec. 15 reveal show.

Bice, whose rendition of "Inside Your Heaven" peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard charts, has recorded three albums and his latest is titled 3. Recorded in his hometown of Nashville, the album features an array of influences ranging from Jim Croce, Van Morrison, James Taylor, Gram Parsons to The Black Crowes and Lenny Kravitz. Performers on the album include Crowes drummer Steve Gorman and keyboardist A.J. Croce, son of the late great Jim Croce.

After making a name for himself on American Idol, Bice toured with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Carlos Santana and Willie Nelson, among others. He also performed for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"You hear and see first-hand some of the devastating stories, but you witness the blessing that these men and women are fighting for us," Bice said. "I just hope I'm lifting them up somehow."

Bice says performing for live audiences is his main reason for making music.

"It's funny," he said. "When I started out after my first record, there were a lot of women in the crowd, and a lot of guys with their arms crossed, kind of like saying: 'Show me what you got.' Then I do my show -- which is sort of like Motley Crue, Vince Gill and Bob Seger -- and by the end, the guys were the ones screaming and whistling -- even in New York. I always say, she'll bring you to the first Bo Bice show, and you'll bring her to every one of them afterward."

Robert Lavelle "R.L." Huggar is a rhythm and blues singer/songwriter from Minneapolis best known as front man for the group Next. He also worked with rappers Snoop Dogg, Lil' Kim and Lil Wayne. The Main Squeeze brings their funk, rock, hip-hop and blues sound from Bloomington, Ind.

Each show will air on the Pentagon Channel at 8 p.m. the day after the live events and can be viewed at The shows will air three times daily to accommodate viewers in different time zones: Eastern Standard, Central European and Korean Standard. Viewers can vote for their favorite contestants for two hours following each broadcast.

The votes of judges and viewers each count 50 percent in determining which contestants advance to elimination rounds of eight, four and two competitors. The final tally is determined by cumulative votes and judges' decisions.

The judges are retired Command Sgt. Maj. Jack L. Tilley, the 12th sergeant major of the Army; Debra Byrd, vocal coach for NBC television's "The Voice," who also served as vocal coach for the first 11 seasons of "American Idol," and country music artist Michael Peterson, who struck No. 1 on the Billboard country chart with "From Here to Eternity."

Fort Sam Houston Theatre doors will open at 6 p.m. and Army Festival of the Performing Arts winners will provide pre-show entertainment for early arrivers.

"That's just another way that we're trying to incorporate different things that we do in showcasing Soldier talent," Operation Rising Star Executive Producer Tim Higdon said. "I'm very excited this year to see how many active-duty Soldiers won at the garrison level."

Another new twist this year provides active-duty Soldiers who won their local Operation Rising Star event with an automatic berth in the live auditions for the 2013 U.S. Army Soldier Show, another Army Entertainment event.

Fourteen judges from Army Entertainment and Installation Management Command helped select the semifinalists. The 34 garrisons around the world that hosted local Operation Rising Star competitions submitted videotapes of their winners to the panel.
The 12 semifinalists are:
-- Capt. Jaqueline Allen of Fort Gordon, Ga.
-- Staff Sgt. John Andelfinger of Yongsan, Korea
-- Spc. Paula Ashcraft of Fort Detrick, Md.
-- Senior Airman Sherita Cummings of Joint Base San Antonio Fort Sam Houston
-- Spc. Reuben Eldridge of Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va
-- Pfc. Marvin Forbes of Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.
-- 1st Lt. Thomas Johnson of Fort Jackson, S.C.
-- Spc. Mary Knudson of Wiesbaden, Germany
-- Spc. Constance Mack of Presidio of Monterey, Calif.
-- Staff Sgt. Darren McGraw of Grafenwoehr, Germany
-- Military family member Calvin Snead of Fort Wainwright, Alaska
-- and family member Christina Williams of the Naval Support Facility in Dahlgren, Va.