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RELATED LINK:Operation Rising Star rules and application

GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — Soldiers all over the world are once again competing in Operation Rising Star to find the best singer in the Army.

The annual American Idol-style competition is open to active-duty, National Guard and Reserve servicemembers and military dependents over 18.

Preliminary rounds are currently going on in Germany, Italy, South Korea, Japan, Iraq and the U.S., according to the Operation Rising Star Web site.

During the early rounds, expert judges and audience members will pick winners.

Then, judges will assess videos of the winners’ performances to select 12 finalists, who will travel to the States in November for the semifinals and finals, which will air live on the Pentagon Channel.

Dozens of performers took the stage at the Grafenwöhr Performing Arts Center last week for one of the preliminary rounds. A large audience cheered and judges listened closely as singers entertained them with gospel, soul, rhythm and blues, and country music.

One of the performers, Capt. Jermaine Goodman, 25, of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, sang "It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday".

Goodman said he recorded "Letters from Iraq," an album of 18 original rhythm and blues, soul and gospel songs, while he was deployed to the desert with 2nd Cav from 2007 to 2008.

"Each song (on the album) is a letter home or a letter from a friend. The first song and the most memorable one I wrote was called "Letters from Iraq." It was like a will and testament. If I didn’t come back from Iraq at least I had these songs," said the young officer, who plays organ at his church in Vilseck, Germany.

Winners of the Grafenwöhr competition were to be announced on Friday night.

The winner of the Armywide Operation Rising Star competition will get a trip to Los Angeles to record a three-song CD in a professional recording studio.

Competition locations

Locations of remaining overseas preliminary rounds for Operation Rising Star:

Sept. 18-19: Vicenza, Italy

Sept. 19 and 25: Baumholder, Germany

Sept. 19 and 26: Torii Station, Japan

Sept. 28: Camp Humphreys, South Korea

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