From protecting to performing, Airman joins Tops in Blue

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Joshua Turner
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs
An opportunity to become part of the 2013 Tops in Blue team became a reality for a Holloman security forces Airman Jan. 22.

Airman 1st Class Jeffrey Ellis, 49th Security Forces Squadron entry controller apprentice from Waldorf, Md., will join Tops in Blue in early October as a vocalist. As an entry controller for the 49th SFS, Ellis also helps secure the flightline and protect the streets.

Originally known as the Air Force Worldwide Talent Contest, Tops in Blue was created in 1953 to recognize talented Airmen in various categories ranging from comedy, drama, vocals, gospel, and vocal, to instrumental groups, country and western, and several others. The top performers were selected from the competition and produced a show with the best Air Force entertainers which ultimately became known as Tops in Blue.

The process Ellis went through started with an online video sent to the Tops in Blue website. He was one of more than 3,000 applicants which the judges narrowed down to 70 competitors.

"Seventy people were at the competition," Ellis said, "[There were] probably about 15 to 20 in each category, from dancing, female vocalist, male vocalist, musicians, along with a few others. After a one-week trial of interviews and vocal coaching, we competed against each other and found out that the Lackland populous and all of San Antonio were invited [to watch]."

The following Monday night, an award ceremony was held to honor those who placed first, second and third. Ellis took second place in the male vocalist category, naming him the second best male vocalist in the U.S. Air Force for 2013. Although he was second best in the Air Force, the award didn't guarantee a spot on the team.

"[The award] didn't really tell me if I made Tops in Blue, it just told me who did the best in the competition," Ellis explained.

After all the excitement of the competition and the award ceremony, the competitors were told to return home to their bases and wait to find out if they were accepted to the 2013 Tops in Blue team.

While on leave, Ellis' commander, who had a good feeling about his chances of making it, called him with the good news on Feb. 22.

"Airman Ellis will do a great job representing Holloman and the Air Force as a performer with Tops in Blue," said Lt. Col. David Boyd, 49th SFS commander. "Ellis has been an outstanding Defender, and I have no doubts he will make the Air Force proud as he shares our mission with people around the world. I wish him the best of luck in his upcoming tour with Tops in Blue."

Ellis is ready for the opportunity to develop his craft as a vocalist and a chance to tour the world as a member of the 2013 Tops in Blue team. He is set to join the team in October.