USO Tour Veterans and Supporters Have a Big Night at the Grammys

The Grammys recognize the best and brightest singers, songwriters and music producers, many of whom are also USO entertainment veterans.

This year, 18 USO supporters or entertainment veterans were nominated for Grammys, including one who was up for the coveted Album of Year award. Here’s a look:

Beyoncé

Troops smile after watching On the Run. USO photo

Troops smile during a special screening of “On the Run Tour: Beyoncé and Jay Z” downrange. USO photo

Best R&B performance (“Beyoncé”); Nominated and won
Best R&B song (with Jay Z, “Drunk in Love”); Nominated and won
Best surround sound album (“Beyoncé”); Nominated and won
Album of the year (“Beyoncé”); Nominated
Best urban contemporary album (“Beyoncé”); Nominated
Best music film (with Jay Z, “On the Run Tour: Beyoncé and Jay Z”); Nominated

Beyoncé and Jay Z treated approximately 2,000 troops stationed in Kuwait and Afghanistan to USO screenings of HBO’s “On the Run Tour: Beyoncé and Jay Z” on New Year’s Eve. The screenings each kicked off with a pre-taped message from Beyoncé who thanked troops for their service and sacrifice and wished them and their families back home a happy new year.

Paramore

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Best rock song (“Ain’t it Fun”); Nominated and won

Paramore went on USO tour to the Persian Gulf in 2010 to entertain troops. The group also recorded a special segment for the USO’s 2010 “VH1 Divas Salute the Troops” show at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, while traveling overseas.

Anthony Hamilton

Anthony Hamilton performs in Fort Bragg, NC. USO photo

Anthony Hamilton performs in Fort Bragg, NC. USO photo

Best traditional R&B performance (“As”); Nominated

In December, Anthony Hamilton performed in his first USO show at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Hamilton sand an assortment of original songs and holiday classics off his latest studio album “Home For The Holidays.”

Jack Black (of Tenacious D)

Best metal performance (“The Last in Line”); Nominated and won

Black, who also starred in Tropic Thunder, visited Camp Pendleton, CA in 2008 for a special USO screening of the film with co-stars Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr.

Babyface

Superstar recording artist/music producer Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds delivered musical delight to soldiers and their families stationed at Fort Benning on September 23, 2011. USO photo by Mike Clifton

Best R&B album (with Toni Braxton, “Love, Marriage & Divorce”); Nominated and won

In 2011, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds performed for troops in Fort Benning, Georgia, as part of the “BRAC to the Future” celebrating the arrival of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, an armor school that moved from Fort Knox, Kentucky, to Fort Benning.

“It’s a different feeling, playing for the troops,” Edmonds said in a 2011 USO story. “You feel like you’re giving something back to [those who] have done so much for us. At this particular point … it means more to me. I appreciate what the service men and women and their families do for all our lives.”

Nicki Minaj

Best pop duo/group performance (with Jessie J, Ariana Grande, “Bang Bang”); Nominated
Best rap song; Nominated

Minaj performed for troops alongside other female music stars in the 2010 “VH1 Divas Salute the Troops” show presented by the USO.

Katy Perry

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Best pop vocal album (“Prism”); Nominated
Best pop duo/group performance (with Juicy J, “Dark Horse”); Nominated

Perry, who recently performed during the Super Bowl halftime show alongside Lenny Kravitz, also performed for service members during the USO’s 2010 “VH1 Divas Salute the Troops” show.

Hunter Hayes

Best country solo performance (“Invisible”); Nominated

Hayes helped create scores of USO moments throughout his Tattoo (Your Name) Tour in this fall, making exclusive USO show stops for troops in Norfolk, Virginia, and at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England. The 2012 CMA New Artist of the Year also created a unique USO moment for one military family this fall, surprising them onstage with complementary tickets to the 2015 CMA Awards during an a USO concert in Nashville.

“Every Moment Counts – I love those three words,” Hayes said in a 2014 USO blog post. “I love that that’s what our current focus is. And the message is the fact that they give so much for us, that every moment with them, we never want to take it for granted.”

Carrie Underwood

Country music singer Carrie Underwood greets service members during a USO stop at Camp Anaconda on December 16, 2006. USO photo by Mike Theiler

Country music singer Carrie Underwood greets service members during a USO stop at Camp Anaconda on December 16, 2006. USO photo by Mike Theiler

Best country solo performance (with Miranda Lambert ,”Somethin’ Bad”); Nominated and won
Best country duo/group performance (“Something in the Water”); Nominated

Underwood visited troops during a 2006 holiday tour to the Persian Gulf.

The Band Perry

Best country duo/group performance (“Gentle on my Mind”); Nominated and won

In 2014, The Band Perry performed at their first USO show at Royal Air Force Lakenheath in the United Kingdom, entertaining over 1,000 military family members.

“They were such a responsive audience, and that’s what we love most about playing shows, is whenever the crowds are crazy and are singing along,” Neil Perry said in a 2014 USO story. “It was just fun having all the families there.”

MercyMe

Best contemporary christian music performance/song (“Shake”); Nominated and won
Best contemporary christian music album (“Welcome to the New”); Nominated

In 2011, MercyMe entertained troops during an eight-day USO tour of Southwest Asia.

“We’ve always appreciated our armed forces and anytime we can give them an escape at one of our shows, we’ll do it,” said the band in a 2011 USO story. “Several guys in the band had fathers and other loved ones serve in the military, so yes all of this hit pretty close to home.”

Louis C.K.

Best comedy album (“Oh My God”); Nominated

Louis C.K. has gone on two USO tours — including a 13-base trip to Afghanistan in 2008 — and even worked the USO into an episode of his hit FX show.

Little Big Town

Members of Little Big Town perform for fans at the second annual Academy of Country Music/USO concert event at Nellis Air Force Base April 2, 2011. USO Photo by Fred Greaves

Members of Little Big Town perform for fans at the second annual Academy of Country Music/USO concert event at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, on April 2, 2011. USO Photo by Fred Greaves

Best country duo/group performance (“Day Drinking”) ; Nominated

In 2014, Little Big Town performed for troops and the Virginia Beach, Virginia, community as part of the city’s Patriotic Festival, which coincided with the USO’s inaugural Warrior Week. The also group performed for troops and their families at a free concert in 2011 hosted by The Academy of Country Music and the USO for military members and their families at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

Great Big World

Best pop duo/group performance (with Christina Aguilera, “Say Something”); Nominated and won

The group signed the USO’s “Every Moment Counts” flag to help break the Guinness World Record this year.

Dierks Bentley

Country music artist Dierks Bentley performs during the USO/ACM Lifting Lives concert at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, NV, April 17, 2010. USO Photo by Fred Greaves

Country music artist Dierks Bentley performs during the USO/ACM Lifting Lives concert at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, NV, April 17, 2010. USO Photo by Fred Greaves

Best country album (“Riser”); Nominated

Bently performed for military families at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, NV in 2010 as part of the first USO/ACM Lifting lives concert.

Lee Ann Womack

Best country album (“The Way I’m Livin'”); Nominated

In 2010, Womack entertained troops as part of the first USO/ACM Lifting lives concert at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

Songwriters of “Let it Go,” performed by USO entertainment veteran Idina Menzel

Best song written for visual media (“Let it Go”); Nominated and won

Menzel, who recently sang the national anthem at the Superbowl, participated in a 2014 USO satellite media tour promoting USO Wishbook, an alternative giving catalog that supports troops and their families. Menzel also met with three New York City-area military families before performing at Bloomingdale’s Holiday Concert and Window Unveiling show in November.

Songwriters of “Moon Song,” sung by USO supporter Scarlett Johannson and Joaquin Phoenix

Best song written for visual media (“Moon Song”); Nominated

In 2008, Johansson visited troops during a USO tour to the Persian Gulf.

“This USO tour to the Gulf region truly means a lot,” Johansson said in a press release. “I’ve wanted to go over and visit for some time, and now my moment has  arrived. It’s one thing to reply to a letter or extend your thanks to  service members in a speech, but it’s another thing to visit them and spend time with those that do so much for us back home.”

USO Entertainers Stephen Colbert, Katy Perry and Others Win Big at Emmys, MTV VMAs

Gen. Ray Odierno gives Stephen Colbert a haircut during Colbert's performance for U.S. military personnel June 7, 2009, in Baghdad. USO Photo by Steve Manuel

Gen. Ray Odierno gives Stephen Colbert a haircut during Colbert’s performance for U.S. military personnel June 7, 2009, in Baghdad. USO Photo by Steve Manuel

It was a big two days for USO entertainers, who brought home a total of six Primetime Emmy Awards and two MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday and Monday.

Stephen Colbert — whose “The Colbert Report” took home Emmys for Outstanding Variety Series and Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series — went on a high-profile USO tour to Iraq in 2009. Colbert’s mentor Jon Stewart‘s “The Daily Show” also won an Emmy for Outstanding Picture Editing for Short-Form Segments and Variety Specials. Stewart went downrange for the USO in the summer of 2011. And last year, former interim “The Daily Show” host John Oliver and a trio of show writers and producers visited troops in Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Comedians Jimmy Fallon and Louis C.K. also took home awards. Fallon — who emceed the USO-coordinated Fourth of July concert at the White House in 2009 — won Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for hosting “Saturday Night Live.” Louis C.K. garnered Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series honors for “Louie.” He has gone on two USO tours — including a 13-base trip to Afghanistan in 2008 — and even worked the USO into an episode of his hit FX show.

“The Big Bang Theory” won Outstanding Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series. Actors from the show went on a USO tour to meet troops in the Pacific in 2012.

 Katy Perry salutes service members before performing "Firework"

Katy Perry salutes service members before performing “Firework” at the “VH1 Divas Salute The Troops” show in 2010. Courtesy photo

Meanwhile, Katy Perry took home Best Female Video at Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards for “Dark Horse.” Haley Williams – lead singer of Paramore – also took home a VMA, winning the MTV Clubland Award for her EDM collaboration with Zedd on “Stay the Night.” Both women were part of the 2010 “VH1 Divas Salute the Troops” show presented by the USO. Paramore did their portion of that show from Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, as part of a USO entertainment tour.

Paramore pics from VH1 Divas Salute the Troops

Paramore pictures from VH1 Divas Salute the Troops presented by the USO.

Kathy Griffin to Host “VH1 Divas Salute the Troops”

Comedian Kathy Griffin, star of "My Life on the D List," talks with Army Cpl. Joseph McCauley on April 3, 2008. McCauley is at Walter Reed Army Medical Center recovering from a traumatic brain injury he suffered March 23, 2008, in Iraq. Griffin visited troops and their families in the Fisher Houses and at the hospital before performing a show for the troops in the evening. (Photo by Samantha L. Quigley)

Two-time Emmy award winning actress and comedian, New York Times bestselling author and Grammy nominated performer, Kathy Griffin will host VH1 Divas Salute The Troops from the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar in San Diego, CA. Known for her candid wit, the USO tour veteran has been making audiences laugh for years discussing Hollywood gossip and celebrity blunders. Griffin is a multi-faceted performer who is sure to entertain the troops.

“After having had the honor of performing for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, it gives me great pleasure to host an evening for them where
they can really blow off some steam. I will not hold back, but I can’t speak for Sugarland. It’s going to be a wild night of great music and a heartfelt
thank you,” said Kathy Griffin.

Joining the star-studded list of performers is VH1’s latest “You Oughta Know” artist – Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. Previously announced performers include Katy Perry, Sugarland, Keri Hilson, Nicki Minaj and Paramore. The USO Presents VH1 Divas Salute The Troops concert event will be televised on Sunday, December 5 at 9:00 PM ET/PT on VH1 and internationally courtesy of the Armed Forces Network. The event at MCAS Miramar will only be open to all hands (13 years of age or older) including active duty, reservist, retirees, DoD employees, their dependents and bona fide guests. This special concert event will not be open to the public.

Additionally, Divas.VH1.com has launched with show information and news, artist profiles and the Salute the Troops Photo Mosaic. Users are encouraged to add their photos to the mosaic as a way to show their support for the troops. For every photo shared, VH1 will donate $1 to the USO’s Operation Enduring Care, up to $10,000. Users can submit photos at Divas.VH1.com using Facebook Connect. For the latest news and details about the show, visit Divas.VH1.com and USO.org.

VH1 Divas Salute The Troops

(Clockwise from top left) Music stars Katy Perry, Sugarland, Keri Hilson, Paramore, and Nicky Minaj will all perform as part of The USO Presents "VH1 Divas Salute The Troops." (Image courtesy of blog.VH1.com)

We couldn’t WAIT to share this with you!  Get ready to join Katy Perry, Sugarland, Keri Hilson, Nicki Minaj, and Paramore for an amazing concert experience this December!  The USO Presents VH1 Divas Salute The Troops premieres on Sunday, December 5 at 9:00 PM ET/PT on VH1.

This year VH1 is giving the Divas franchise a military makeover by partnering with the USO to bring the iconic event to America’s troops and their families. Drawing from the tone of the original USO shows and using Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar in San Diego as home base, this year’s VH1 Divas Salute The Troops show will be a unique and uplifting version of VH1’s high profile signature event. Katy Perry, Sugarland, Keri Hilson and Nicki Minaj will perform in front of thousands of men and women in uniform at MCAS Miramar. Taking the effort overseas to thank troops serving in remote locations, Paramore will visit Marines, soldiers, airmen, sailors, coastguardsmen and reservists stationed at an undisclosed military base in the Middle East.

“I get to be among so many other influential women, groundbreaking women, strong, powerful, confident women, not only on that day, but just to be a part of the legacy of ‘VH1 Divas,'” Hilson told the Washington Post.  Hilson said she embraces the positive characteristics of being a diva.  “Strong woman, yes I am. Leader, yes I am. Innovative, creative, all those things, yes, I am that,” said Hilson.

Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland has a similar definition for the modern day diva.  “All of these women definitely have a larger than life persona, be it on stage or who they are or what they wear,” she said. “I think there’s something to be said for celebrating that.”

Hilson and Nettles love the idea of supporting the troops through the show. Hilson’s dad served in the Army before she was born, and Nettles has a brother in the Air Force.

The USO Presents VH1 Divas Salute The Troops will be an event unlike anything seen before featuring a night of unforgettable performances from various performers, presenters and special guests as well as commentary from troops stationed on the front lines and “exclusive” USO tour footage shot overseas. This year’s show is a female-fronted superstar spectacle that is fun, irreverent and will also include a “few good men.” Additional information about the show and the featured artists will be released in the upcoming weeks and can be found at Divas.VH1.com and USO.org.