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‘American Idol’ Contestant Returns to Navy Base

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Elizabeth Williams, USN
Special to American Forces Press Service

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., May 16, 2007 – Yesterday marked Phil Stacey’s first full day back to duty since his “deployment” to “American Idol.”

Petty Officer 2nd Class Stacey departed the base Jan. 22. The Navy musician made it into the top six finalists on Fox’s “American Idol” before being voted off the show on May 2.

“It feels good to be back. I’ve had a lot of support and love from Jacksonville, especially the military community. I wanted to represent the Navy and Jacksonville, but I also want to be an example for people who are set on accomplishing something they dreamed about doing,” Stacey said.

Although he was voted off, former contestants return for a finale episode that takes place after the next American Idol has been selected. Stacey will return to Los Angeles today.

About his time on “Idol,” Stacey admitted that he didn’t expect to get as far as he did.

“Even the fact that I got to go out there was pretty amazing. I’ve had a lot of support from my command,” he said.

Stacey said he hopes to go on the “American Idol” tour this summer, but that is still up to the military and his leaders haven’t made a decision yet.

He said the idea of auditioning on “American Idol” initially came about after he missed his friend’s wedding because of a Navy band commitment. The friend jokingly said that the only way he would forgive Stacey was if he tried out for “American Idol.”

Stacey said he made lifelong friendships and had some incredible experiences during his time on the show.

“I met some amazing people: Quincy Jones, Bono from U2. I even got to meet Tom Cruise at a party, and we talked about our kids,” he said. “However, my favorite part of being there was being part of … ‘Idol Gives Back,’” a two-night special charity fundraiser on April 24 and 25.

“We raised almost 70 million dollars to fight poverty,” he said.

The contestants all lived in a hotel together for a month before the show even started. Once they entered into the top 12, they were moved into apartments. Stacey resided with Blake Lewis, who is still in the contest, and Chris Richardson, who was voted out with Stacey on May 2.

“I made some really great friends; the contestants in the top 12 are all like family to me,” Stacey said.

“I feel blessed for all the support from the Navy community. I especially appreciate my shipmates standing in for me while I was gone,” he added. “I am very grateful.”

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