Last night the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist (ETA) Contest Preliminary Rounds took place at the Orpheum Theatre in Downtown Memphis, Tennessee. This contest for sure is one of the highlights during Elvis Week, because here the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Champion is crowned. All together 24 young men competed against each other in order to save themself a spot for the finals which will take place on Thursday at 7 p.m. If you’re curious how the semi-finals went and who will return on Thursday, you should continue reading…
The competing artists have all won regional competitions from all over the world, in order to qualify for the Memphis semi-finals. They competed for example at the Myrtle Beach Elvis Festival, Europe’s Tribute to Elvis or the Foxwoods Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest. Every competitor had to sing two songs. They are never juged against each other but always against Elvis Presley. Vocals, style, stage wear, and stage presence are the criteria counting in order to find the one person, who represents Elvis best. Vocals count for 40 percent of the score. Winning the ETA Champions title not only comes with a cheque of $ 20,000, and a contract to perform for Legends in Concert as well as other prizes but also with the guarantee to travel the world and get booked as Elvis for different shows.
These contestants made it to the finals on Thursday: David Allen, Michael Chambliss, Pat Dunn, Tim Hendry, Dwight Icenhower, David Lee, Johnny Lee Memphis, Kevin Mills, Ryan Pelton, and Alex Swindle. Those artists unfortunately will not get the chance to perform at the finals this year, but however, entertained the audience with great performances: James Gibb, Jim Barone, Doug Church, Frank Werth, Matt King, Aaron Barbara, Daisuke Kiryu, Ben Thompson, Josh Davis, Diogo Light, Brycen Katolinsky, Ricky Aron, Norm Ackland, Jr., and Jack Gatto.
Joining the ETA Contest for the very first time was a great experience. I did not have the time to do so in 2013, when I first came to Memphis for Elvis Week, and missed seeing Dean Z winning that year’s contest. As the contest started in 2007, next year there will be ten Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Champions entertaining Elvis fans around the world. If you enjoy listening to Elvis and ever get the chance to go to Memphis to join the Elvis family for the ETA contest, please do so – you won’t regret it! If you live in the Memphis area, don’t hesitate to join us this Thursday to celebrate the winner!