American Idols make a stopover at joint base April 15

American Idols and guests toured the Battleship Missouri Memorial during their April 15 stopover in Hawaii, which included a visit to the USS Arizona Memorial and USS Lake Erie (CG 70). Photo courtesy of Jimmy Swan

Jazzmin Williams

Contributing Writer

Seven former American Idols visited the USS Arizona Memorial and USS Lake Erie (CG 70) on April 15 during a layover on their way back from touring Australia and performing for U.S. troops overseas.

“Capt. Jeffrey James gave us a private tour,” said Jovany Barreto, a season 10 contestant, perhaps best known for taking off his shirt for judge Jennifer Lopez. “We got a nice tour of Pearl Harbor and a lot of information.”

The group of former “Idols” included Naima Adedapo, Colin Benward, Kendra Chantelle, John Wayne Shulz, Lauren Turner, Rachel Zevita and Barreto, contestants from both seasons nine and 10 of the highly rated program.

With only a short stopover in the islands, the group wanted to see a historic military landmark, such as the USS Arizona Memorial, with what little time they had. James, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam commander, hosted the tour along with Capt. David Hughes, commanding officer of the USS Lake Erie (CG 70).

“The biggest take away from our [American Idol] visitors was their view on young Sailors,” Hughes said. “Specifically, they were impressed by the significant responsibilities borne by our Sailors at such a young age. They struggled to relate the responsibilities we levy with their experience in the civilian world.”

Touring the USS Lake Erie was a special treat for Barreto, who worked in a shipyard before American Idol propelled him to fame. Seeing a fully manned and completed ship was an experience, Barreto added.

“I was actually in the delayed enlistment program for the Navy,” he said. Barreto said that after he auditioned and was selected for American Idol, the Navy released him and allowed him to continue in the American Idol competition.

Singing for troops is important to all the “Idols” involved. They started their “Idolpalooza” tour, sponsored by Armed Forces Entertainment, last August in Japan. After doing nine shows at seven different bases, the group moved along to Alice Springs, Australia, doing three more shows. Expecting 75 to 100 audience members per show, the group was surprised when attendance swelled to more than 500 in Australia.

After returning to the mainland for a short break, the group will go on two concurrent tours throughout Europe and the Mediterranean through June and July, then hit the Asia-Pacific region by August. Barreto listed being able to get the entire crowd involved, including prompting high ranking officials in both Australia and Japan to sing along to Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” as the most memorable parts of the tour.

Speaking about the stop in Hawaii, Barreto said. “We really enjoyed it. Coming to Hawaii and seeing all the wonderful things here, it’s been something else.”

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Category: News