“American Idol” fans in Germany don’t have to wait for the new season to kick off on American Forces Network television.

The semifinals of the Military Idol competition in Europe will be held Friday in Heidelberg. Performances will begin at 7 p.m. in the hospital recovery room on Nachrichten Kaserne.

The fate of the contestants will lie with a three-judge panel and the audience, according to Ron Paoletti, a spokesman for U.S. Army Garrison Heidelberg Morale, Welfare and Recreation. Guest judges are: Sgt. Maj. Marcella D. Larson, of the U.S. Army Europe Band; Staff Sgt. Derrick Alexander, this summer’s Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers Idol winner, and Tasha Bush, a longtime music industry watcher.

The semifinalists are vying for a spot in the finals and a chance to sing on the Army installation tour, which includes stops at 11 European bases. The Europe finals will be held Sept. 30.

The Heidelberg winner will receive $500 and $500 for his or her unit. The second-place performer will receive $500. The third-place singer will receive $250.

Winners of the European competition will be sent to the worldwide finals in Fort Gordon, Ga., on Oct. 17-22, which will be aired live on the Pentagon Channel.

‘Military Idol’ was organized by the Army’s Community and Family Support Center, and was fashioned along with the producers of Fox television’s “American Idol.”

In addition to hearing great singers, audience members will have a chance to win door prizes, including an iPod Mini.

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