LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --- For the daughter of an Appling couple, auditioning for American Idol would have probably been easier than the fierce, weeklong auditions she recently underwent in hopes of being named "Best of the Best" during the Air Force's Worldwide Talent Contest.
Airman 1st Class Alice C. Lewis, daughter of Ray and Shelley Lewis, of Appling, was one of 56 Airmen competing to be named the best in their talent category and, hopefully, land a coveted spot on the 2008 Tops in Blue team.
Tops in Blue is the Air Force's premier entertainment showcase for military members and their families around the world.
In the past, famous entertainers such as comedian Jerry Van Dyke, of the TV sitcom Coach , then an Airman 2nd Class, and comedian David Adkins, now known as Sinbad, have been members of the team. The troupe has appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and provided halftime entertainment at the Super Bowl.
Lewis and her competitors, all winners at their respective bases, came from a variety of career fields and ranks.
"My talent is female vocalist and I'm willing to fulfill any part in the Tops in Blue ," said Lewis, a logistics plans apprentice stationed at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey.
Throughout the week, Lewis was required to undergo a number of vocal, instrumental and dance auditions, personal interviews and attend training seminars conducted by former Tops in Blue members who returned to Lackland as team assistants, coaches and judges for the talent contest.
"I took several exercise classes to assist in maintaining my endurance while singing and dancing," said Lewis, a 2002 graduate of Greenbrier High School. "I also ruck-marched three times per week to build up my lower body strength. Lastly, I sang and sang and sang."
Because all of the competitors were equally talented in their respective areas, most found it very difficult to relax during the week.
"I can honestly say that I have never had this much fun with 58 plus strangers in my life," Lewis said. "I have learned so much from the contestants, and I must say the competition is tough."
Everyone knows that they all can't be winners, but just making it to this level of competition gives Lewis and her competitors hope that their talent might carry them to something even bigger and better in the future.
"Honestly, I would love to see my talent take me to any big stage, just as long as someone's gaining a blessing from hearing me sing, whether it be in a small church down a long dirt road, or a Broadway stage in New York," she said.
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