Idols to bring bit of home to ROK

John Wayne Schulz, left, and Colin Benward sing a duet at Yokota Air Base’s Enlisted Club on Aug. 10 during last year’s Asia-Pacific tour of military bases by former contestants on the hit TV show “American Idol.”
John Wayne Schulz, left, and Colin Benward sing a duet at Yokota Air Base’s Enlisted Club on Aug. 10 during last year’s Asia-Pacific tour of military bases by former contestants on the hit TV show “American Idol.”

Idols to bring bit of home to ROK

by: David Hurwitz | .
Stripes Korea | .
published: August 01, 2012

They may have been voted off the show during seasons 10 and 11 of “American Idol,” but you wouldn’t know that from the talent performers will bring to the stage during this summer’s Idols World Tour.

The show will travel to 27 military installations in 12 countries, including Korea, Guam, Japan, and those in Europe and the Middle East, bringing American-style entertainment to an estimated 30,000 troops and their families, according to tour sponsor Armed Forces Entertainment. It will be at a number of bases in Korea from Aug. 9 to 15.

Following the pattern of the hit TV program, the singers are evenly split between males and females, and specialize in different musical genres, like rock, pop and country and western, though they cross those boundaries when performing with other members of the troupe.

Backed by a four-piece band, they come up on stage one by one to introduce themselves with brief musical numbers before performing virtually nonstop in different combinations for two hours to the delight of the crowd. In some locations, a shorter acoustic show will be presented.

Audiences are generally diverse, ranging from young military men and women coming with friends to parents who bring their teenage and younger children.
The singers – Jovany Javier Barreto, Ashton Jones, John Wayne Schulz, Lauren Turner, and Rachel Zevita from season 10, and Creighton Fraker, Jen Hirsh, and Aaron Marcllus from season 11 – will perform a variety of numbers, making sure that there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Barreto, Schulz and Zevita are veterans of last year’s tour of the Asia-Pacific region. They performed a range of music from acoustic renditions of songs like “Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty to crowd pleasers like Joe Cocker’s version of “With a Little Help from My Friends.” There were even some Justin Bieber songs for the kids, who all seemed to know the lyrics.

Schulz, who wears a cowboy hat when performing, often brought up his Southern roots, singing an ode to Southern life called “Chicken Fried” and teaming up with another singer for “Sweet Home Alabama.”

Throughout, members of the troupe were very respectful of the job that the military on the bases they visit are doing. Schulz said a member of his family had been in the military in every generation since the Civil War, before launching into the ballad “American Soldier.”

Following the shows, the performers signed autographs, posed for pictures, held babies, and exchanged pleasantries with their fans with the same good spirit they showed during the concert.

Colin Benward, a member of the last year’s troupe, seems to be following his game plan for spending the next five years doing shows like this, particularly on military bases. He will perform during the early part of the tour.

“I love the down-to-earth demeanor and spirit of the bases, the hospitality and simplicity. The warmth that we’ve felt is wonderful, so it’s easy in the evening to perform,” he said last year after a show at Yokota Air Base in Japan.

The impression of the audience after that show was summarized by Glicell Negron, a Coast Guard spouse who came there with her children. “It was a great escape from the daily routine,” she said.

That view was seconded by Franklin Tagatac, Pacific regional manager, USAF, Armed Forces Entertainment: “It’s important to send this type of entertainment overseas where families can enjoy a night of uplifting entertainment. The show is very interactive and will have everyone singing current top 10 cover songs. This world tour has really opened the Idols eyes and they get to experience what our service members and their families go through every day. The Idols inspire the kids to dream big and go after whatever they’re interested in.”

So come on out, sing along to some familiar songs, and have some fun! No one will get voted off this version of Idol.

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