Airmen win honors at worldwide talent search

  • Published
  • By Erin Tindell
  • Air Force Personnel, Services and Manpower Public Affairs
Air Force entertainment officials selected the top 12 entertainers from 90 Airmen who participated in the annual Air Force Worldwide Talent Search here Jan. 9-16 at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

The annual competition allows Airmen to showcase their singing, instrumental, dance and specialty talents as well as their technical skills in stage production. Additionally, the Airmen compete for spots on the Tops in Blue team, the Air Force's premier entertainment group.

"This year's winners were a mix of officers and senior and junior enlisted Airmen," said Jeri White, Tops in Blue production coordinator. "The diverse group of Airmen truly wants to be part of the upcoming Tops in Blue tour, serving as ambassadors for the Air Force and the U.S. by bringing a touch of home to military members and their families around the world."

The Air Force's top talents were chosen after a week of auditions, rehearsals and interviews, which culminated in three nights of competition in front of an audience. The best performer took home the "Roger" award for first place and the second place winner received the "Wilco" award.

Best in Show: With a Michael Jackson dance impersonation that brought the audience to their feet, Staff Sgt. Tyron Jones from Yokota Air Base, Japan, was named best in show for the competition.

Other winners from this year's worldwide talent search were:

Female Vocalist: 1st place went to Senior Airman Joleen Dedmon from Luke AFB, Ariz., for "I Wanna Love You Forever." Senior Airman Joanell Jackson from Fort Polk, La., took second place for "One Night Only."

Male Vocalist: 1st place went to Airman 1st Class Joseph Hardeman from Cannon AFB, N.M., for "Set Fire to the Rain." Master Sgt. Matthew Lemieux from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, took second place for "I Wanna Know What Love Is."

Vocalist Self-Accompanied: 1st place went to 1st Lt. Ashley Elmore from Ellsworth AFB, S.D., for "Forget You" with an ukulele. Airman 1st Class Timothy Sentz from Scott AFB, Ill., took second place for "Why Don't We Just Dance" with an acoustic guitar.

Instrumentalist: 1st place went to Senior Airman Kyle Willis from Whiteman AFB, Mo., for "Frankenstein" on the bass guitar. Staff Sgt. Joshua Tarrant from Buckley AFB, Colo., took second place for "Moby Dick" on the drums.

Specialty: 1st place went to Jones for the Michael Jackson impersonation. Airman 1st Class Jason Flores from Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., took second place for a magic act.

Dance: 1st place went to 1st Lt. Sarah Ruzzin from Eglin AFB, Fla., for choreography to "Beautiful" and "White and Nerdy." Airman 1st Class Briana Hofreiter from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam took second place for choreography to "Addicted to Love."

Technical: 1st place went to Master Sgt. Kristopher Kobernus from Ramstein, while Tech. Sgt. Michael Menges from Eglin took second place.

The winners of the worldwide talent contest were announced at an awards banquet Jan. 16. Airmen selected for the 2012 Tops in Blue tour will be announced by Feb. 10. The cast will report for two months of staging before the tour starts in late May.

For a schedule of Tops in Blue performances or more information, visit Follow Tops in Blue at, the Facebook fan page at or read blog entries at