First-Ever EPE Elvis Tribute Artist Contest Announced

Here is a pressrelease issued by EPE on November 16, 2006 on the first ever EPE Elvis Tribute Artist Contest: MEMPHIS, TN – November 16, 2006 – For the first time ever, Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. (EPE) will produce an official Elvis tribute artist competition. The company announced today that it will launch a search for contestants for the “Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest.” Contestants will be selected at existing Elvis tribute artist contests, along with fairs, festivals and other venues holding new contests. The first licensed festivals confirmed to hold preliminary contests are the Tupelo Elvis Presley Festival in Tupelo, Mississippi and the Collingwood Elvis Festival held in Ontario, Canada. The qualifying rounds and finals will be held in Memphis during the 30th Anniversary Elvis Week. “The number of Elvis fans around the world continues to increase as younger people are exposed to Elvis,” stated Paul Jankowski, Chief Marketing Officer for EPE. “The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest is another way to celebrate Elvis’s on-going contribution to the world of entertainment. The contest will appeal to both the Elvis fans who have made the trip to Graceland every year since Elvis’ death in 1977 and to the new fans who have just discovered Elvis’s timeless appeal.” Judges will be looking for the “best representation of the Elvis legacy” in talent, appearance, performance, stage presence and each contestant's overall tribute to Elvis. The best overall performer will be named the “2007 Elvis Tribute Artist of the Year.” MORE INFORMATION: Are you an Elvis tribute artist interested in competing in the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest? Are you a festival organizer interested in staging an official preliminary competition? Please visit
Source: EPE - Elvis Presley Enterprises / Updated: Nov 16, 2006 
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nevstar (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 1, 2006report abuse
If EPE are going to put money and effort into promoting something, why can't it be Elvis himself? Not Elvis wannabe's. I've been a fan for over 40 years and I have found that the majority of people's opinions of Elvis are based upon impersonators they have seen. Most of them are an embarrassment to Elvis' memory and his fans. The best Elvis tribute concert I have seen is where the artist didn't dress up and try to be Elvis, but just sang Elvis songs straight. They concentrated on the music of the man which is where the focus of the public should be. And that is where EPE, in conjunction with BMG, should also be focused. Just like Colonel Parker did with Elvis when he was alive, they are turning Elvis' memory into a carnival sideshow with freaks on display.
alley (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 26, 2006report abuse
Thank you June, the bottom line is...Elvis. We actually attended a Christmas show last night with the most talented ETA's in the world. Dwight Icenhower performed perfectly and filled the room with Elvis' spirit and Matt King was absolutely amazing!!! It was an evening decitated to Elvis and we all celebrated Elvis' life and music. It is so nice to be around positive people and listen to Elvis' music. The negativity and meanness that comes from some people just doesn't matter, it is all about Elvis.
June (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 26, 2006report abuse
So mean-spirited. Why insult people you don't even know. As for the children I mentioned before, there is no child abuse and it is unfair to the parents to even suggest this. These kids just love Elvis, plain and simple and they lead normal lives when not performing. If they want to get on a stage and sing Elvis songs, there is nothing wrong with it. Like Alley said....if Jerry Schilling said that Elvis would be pleased, then nothing else matters.
Lex (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 19, 2006report abuse
As I said before... they are all talentless... otherwise they would have made it on their own.
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 19, 2006report abuse
Paul - I am not what June says is supporting child abuse. Maybe thats a stretch. If they are doing this for fun, thats OK. If they are obsessed 24 by 7 than thats an issue like any other obsession. Kids dress as Elvis for Halloween and thats ok. Ive seen kids sing a song or two for events and thats OK. Now if kids walk around all day with fake sideburns and talk with a Southern accent, thats not child abuse but a mental disorder just like the grown up ETA's! I do believe the ETAs do more harm than good for Elvis because the media only focuses on the no talent fats ones of which there are plenty.
Helbrown (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 19, 2006report abuse
The only people who "need help" are those who think ETAs do anything other than harm the way that Elvis and his fans are presented. If I want to watch someone in a jumpsuit I will watch On Tour or another DVD thanks very much. I feel really sorry for those people who feel the need to do anything else. Lex, I know how you are feeling, and I support everything you have said on these threads. I am as gutted as you are. I know that you have always tried to represent Elvis in a positive way despite the increasingly tacky side of the Elvis world.
PaulFromFrance (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 19, 2006report abuse
Steve... I was and I am harsh on someone who support child abuse. For God sake, these children are 6, 8, and 12, and you're all talking about their love for Elvis?? Come on! You really think it's normal behavior?? Don't you have any childhood protection system overthere? Reading this kind of message makes me sick, and I'll never apologize. What a shame! And how nasty I am ! :-)))
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 19, 2006report abuse
Paul - I dont dig impersonators at all but you were harsh on June. She has her opinions as we all do. Be a little nicer when you state yours.
Lex (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 19, 2006report abuse
Well, in third world countries kids have to work to support their parents, sadly enough and it is child abuse. Training kids to pleasure their parents like that is in my opinion child abuse too.
alley (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 19, 2006report abuse
Paul, you think parents should end up in jail for supporting their childrens love of Elvis? What would you suggest, when a child shows interest in the music of a man who had been gone for 20 plus years and learning more about his music and his life, are parents suppose to discourage that? Especially when Elvis music teaches these kids not just the love of his music, but other musicians from that era. I once saw an interview that Elvis did where he said himself, you can't please everyone, how on the mark was he on that!!! Again, you are welcome to your opinions, but how can you claim to love Elvis and say horrible things about him in the same sentence. Of course Elvis was not perfect and he had alot of issues in his life... he was human you know.
June (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 19, 2006report abuse are an example of those who get nasty and personal....get some help.
Emiel Maier (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 19, 2006report abuse
I doubt whether EPE will be reading all these comments. The best possible way to stop this crap is to demonstrate during the 30th Anniverary Elvis Week. There will be enough tv-stations reporting: what a major oppertunity to set the record straight. (To quote an Elvis song: Shout It Out!) It is about time EPE start changing their policy towards exploiting Elvis's name. After all Elvis is not 'a bad joke', but a creative musical genius that needs to be put back on its pedestal. And Elvis-imposters work contra productive...
MauriceColgan (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 19, 2006report abuse
Why some Elvis Presley fans feel so insecure because of Elvis impersonators and Elvis ducks beats me. Millions of original Elvis fans have survived many of the grotesque caricatures. So has Elvis's music, and I have no doubt it will continue to do so. Not only has it survived it continues to appeal to new generations! A pragmatic approach can help calm the most zealous "Elvis Legacy Police" :-) Besides Elvis was a charitable guy, wasn't he?
PaulFromFrance (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 19, 2006report abuse
June, sorry to say this, but for me, your whole message is an insult to Elvis memory. The whole message is totally ridiculous ("those poor impersonators dedicating their life to the fans at their own expenses" makes me laugh a lot, thanks) but comment like "All of these children are amazing and dedicated to Elvis' memory" is the hardest to handle... what a joke !!!!! I hope their parents will end in jail ! I can't believe you wrote this. Oh well... the world is full of insane people... After all... Elvis liked pills too...
June (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 19, 2006report abuse
Alley, you are right on target here. Why do so many have to resort to nastiness just because they don't approve of ETA's. Elvis would be appalled and especially at comments like...'well, Elvis liked pills, too' a fan can make a comment like that is mindboggling. It simply amazes me...the lack of information about what ETA's go through. They go to an awful lot of expense and trouble to entertain people all across the country. They have to pay for their own travel and hotels as well as pay an entrance fee to enter a contest (not forgetting the expense of clothes and jewelry) and these are guys with day jobs who would probably rather be home with the wife and kids. But, because they love Elvis Presley...and his fans...they just get on with it and hope that somewhere along the way, they will influence someone who had no prior interest in Elvis or his music. They also bring Elvis fans together. I have made many wonderful friends through ETA contests and 'Elvis friends' are for life. In the past two years, I have come into contact with three wonderful children who (to the amazement of their parents) have made the commitment to perform Elvis music. They are...Nick Gutierrez, age 12....Demi Downing, age 8.....and..Radney Pennington, age 6. All of these children are amazing and dedicated to Elvis' memory. Elvis would be amazed and fascinated and... he would be happy.
alley (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 19, 2006report abuse
What are you in second grade??? Do you have to stoop to calling names and making fun of others for what they like? Way to be a human being!!! Oh and by the way, I'm not trying to convert you to the otherside and you are more than welcome to voice your opinion, it's just unfortunate you can't be nice while doing it.
Lex (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 18, 2006report abuse
Yes, Elvis liked pills too... that says enough about his appraisal capacity, so that's no reason for me to switch sides. I like to form my opinion anyway... don't need others to guide me. To me those imposters are all a bunch of monkeys leaning on Elvis' capacities to get a life. If they had any capicity of their own, they wouldn't need the jumpsuits, wigs and sideburns.
alley (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 18, 2006report abuse
Well Lex, I have to agree with you that there are women out there that chase the ETA's in hopes of catching their own Elvis which is absolutely ridiculous. I can tell you that the genuine ETA's want nothing to do with these "sideburn chasers". I can appreciate your opinion all I am saying is, give them a fair chance before you knock them and for anyone who feels the need to stoop to name calling, GROW UP. Elvis had a very open heart, to all people and if you truly love Elvis and care about the man that he was, try following in his footsteps of his LOVE and KINDNESS for fellow human beings.
As far as Doug Church is concerned, I don't know him but I have heard nothing but great things about him, you are the very first to have a negative comment, however, I do know all of the others that I mentioned and consider them friends, so I would go to bat for each of them. They each have a piece of Elvis' heart and you can plainly see that every time they step on the stage. Just give them a chance, that's all.
Lex (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 18, 2006report abuse
If you call Doug Church talented... that says enough for me. I was confronted with him once and although he could sing quite fairly in the mid-range he had the charisma of a wet floorcloth as we say over here. Not even to mention the "singing" of the higher ranges, which were all out of tune. Well, it was a good reason to get a drink and smoke at the bar anyway. Although I have to admit there are also stupid European women wanting to go on a picture with a monkey in a jumpsuit :-).
alley (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 18, 2006report abuse
I agree with June 100%. There are ETA's out there that have no business on the stage, but there are very talented men like Shawn Klush, Doug Church, Ryan Pelton, Dwight Icenhower, Kavan, and countless others that perform an amazing tribute to Elvis. I think that is so important to remember that they love Elvis as much as the rest of us and would never want to do anything to harm his image. In fact, there # 1 rule is there was only one Elvis, and they are not him!!! I also think it is important to say that many of them participate in uncountable amounts of charity work. Recently, we attended a competition to benefit the Special Olympics and both Kavan and Leo Days donated all their winnings to the Special Olympics. I completely understand that there are Elvis fans that strongly disagree and certainly have a right to voice their oppinion, but please, before you get on the band wagon to knock these guys down, please remember they have a heart as big as Elvis' and they work very hard to preserve his memory. I also had the honor to meet Jerry Schilling and I asked him what would Elvis think about the children that are just starting out to perform Elvis' music and Jerry said and I quote," Elvis would be very proud"!!!
Helbrown (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 18, 2006report abuse
There's quite a few of us who think that NONE of them are in good taste....
Elvisss (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 18, 2006report abuse
There are those undesirables that should not be doing any kind of tribute period...but...for those who are very professional and do the tributes in great taste should not be put in that same category! Lord knows I've seen many over the years and the quite talented men worth mentioning are...Shawn Klush, Doug Church, Stephen Kabakos, Ray Guillemette, Gino Monopoli, Dean Vegas, Leo Days etc...These are among those select that are a very fine, class act and that's what really makes the difference!
byebye (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 17, 2006report abuse
If there´s a buck in short distanceof EPE, they dont hesitate to grab it... That´s the simple explanation. It has nothing to do whether they like it or not. It´s only a missed opportunity to cash in more if they dont join the circus.
Helbrown (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 17, 2006report abuse
I don't mind Elvis Tribute Artists who sing his songs. I'm sure most of us will have seen "plain clothes" artists who interpret Elvis songs in their own way. However, it really makes me angry when guys wear a jumpsuit or a Fifties outfit and OTT make up and say that they are not impersonators. If you are not an impersonator, don't wear the fancy dress. Period. I know of quite a few Elvis singers who could have made a lot more money if they had sold out and worn a jumpsuit and fixed their hair. But they have more integrity and respect than that. The whole world thinks fans all wear the same outfits.They aren't interested in "normal" people. And these guys (and women....!) are totally to blame. It's clear from this, and other things that have happened that Sillerman is only interested in a fast buck and the bottom line. I think he's going to be worse than Colonel Parker, if this is anything to go by.
jcorley (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 17, 2006report abuse
Viva and Crawfish took the words right out of my mouth. I agree whole-heartedly. I despise the ones that do harm to E in any way, shape, or form. From some that I have seen, the only thing I am left with afterwards is a severe case of nausea. And, no doubt, that up-and-coming fans of Elvis or individuals with a curiosity of the music and life of E, are left in a severe state of bewilderment when they come across these impersonators (so-called fans). We don't have enough publicity for E as it is, we surely don't need such bad publicity to further cloud the scene. Wake up EPE, because your dreams are turning into our nightmares.
Crawfish (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 17, 2006report abuse
Totally, 100% with you Viva. Please someone who has RS's ear let him know what is going on!!!!! It is disgusting. And Sal, sorry but if impersonators just sang Elvis songs they would have a lot more respect. But it's is the fact that they have to pour themselves into jumpsuits and stick on sideburns etc. that 1) makes them look so laughable and awful and 2) turns most Elvis fans away with sickening regularity. Why can you not all be fans without the impersonating? And so far as being a million miles away from Elvis then I am afraid you are not even close. We are all on this site because we love Elvis and I just wish everyone, including EPE, remembered there is only one. We don't need the 'Carry on Elvis' crew!!
hounddawgs6499 (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 17, 2006report abuse
chrisc, I've been going to Memphis (for EW) every year since 2000. I've gone to the Candlelight Vigil every year - to pay my repects to Elvis - along with the majority of other Elvis fans. While I've seen some freaks and weirdos in the area (dressed up like him), I don't bother paying attention to them. It would be nice if the news media would focus on the regular, normal Elvis fans (and yes, there are many who do come to Memphis) instead of the freaks and weirdos.
Tony C (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 17, 2006report abuse
I think it is very easy to knock all Elvis tribute artists because there are so many bad ones out there. Some of them are very good, and although they can never be Elvis himself, put on a good show. The best one I have ever seen is the North London-based Jon Burrows, who is incredible.
PaulFromFrance (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 17, 2006report abuse
A very sad new. They're killing Elvis a second time. What a shame !
Sal (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 17, 2006report abuse
I think June has the right idea, some of these 'Elvis's couldnt hold a tune and are only in it for the paycheck. They damage the image and conjur up an awful representation of the King, especialy the final years. BUT i totaly disagree with you Mr VIVA-they arent all rubbish or tuneless. A lot (inc me) took a lot of time and effort to perform a tribute show (MY tribute, not a 'caricuture' of Elvis ie a lip curling 'southern drawling impersonator from Barnsley') I must defend some of the better tributes, they can sing, they do try, they dont want to hurt the image and most of all know what Elvis 3rd film was....we arent all in it for the money NOR think we are him. I take great steps to promote every Elvis related thing i can think of at my shows and encourage them to buy the latest DVD, Cd etc. Many of the general public have said to me that they werent Elvis fans before they heard me-now they want to go out and but his CD's...that can only be good for Elvis. Im a huge fan of Elvis, ive all the FTD releases and learnt my craft working through the pubs and working mens clubs of this fair land..ive done my homework, studied his voice and want to do the man justice, its vital to me as his music means the world. I would never ever perform as a tribute artist if i was above my station, there is only one Elvis..and we tribute artist are always going to be a million miles behind him. EPE will show the world the best tributes, the bad ones will be exposed (or hopefully not turn up!) and im sure Elvis image will be intact. I dont enter any competitions, not my thing, but good luck to EPE and work with the descent acts out there and promote the healthy, slim, powerful singer image we all renmeber Elvis for.
snyper (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 17, 2006report abuse
On what planet does anyone think that this is a good idea ? It is official, EPE has finally lost it's mind ! Elvis impersonators are nothing but coffin riding leeches trying to make money on another persons talent and legacy. I have tried to cut EPE a break in the past with thier silly ideas and less than stellar promotions,but this is a firm slap in the face of Elvis fans and his memory. I thought it was bad when they let the so called "American Idols" use Graceland for that show,but now the ultimate sell-out. Shame on you EPE !!!!
chrisc (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 17, 2006report abuse
The reason a lot of people go to these impersonator shows is because they think it is the funniest thing ever, and they definitely carry the gross impersonator image over to Elvis himself and think he was the same. I have also noticed that a lot of people go to the Aug 16th candlelight event at Graceland so that they can laugh at the weird Elvis fans. This EPE impersonator contest should give them lots to laugh at.
Dixieland Rock (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 17, 2006report abuse
The only time I can justify an Elvis impersonator is if it's for a movie about Elvis (like "Elvis" with Kurt Russell) or maybe recreating a show Elvis did (like the 56 Tupelo homecoming for example). But even then, I think there should be a strict and rigid standard of judging before selecting the one to impersonate Elvis. I think the screening should be done in private away from the public like an audition. But to have have 10 dozen Elvis wannabes running around looks embarrassing. They are hurting Elvis more than helping. I think Kurt Russell did a great job in playing Elvis. That is fine. If you want to recreate an event in Elvis' career for an event, great. But thoroughly screen them in private. But why not use the real Elvis as much as possible through film footage & the technology available.
Helbrown (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 17, 2006report abuse
Excellent post, Viva. I agree with every word. I do agree that some are slightly less nauseating than others, but Elvis doesn't need anyone to keep the memory alive. I think the ETA phenomenon does far more harm than good. If I want to hear or see a guy in a jumpsuit singing American Trilogy, Hurt or anything else, I will put a DVD on. Lex and Kees. We've discussed this a couple of times in Memphis. I know how you are feeling. It takes the fun and pride out of being an Elvis fan for me. I am tired of having to explain to folks that I can't stand these guys and that I don't wear a jumpsuit and shades myself. Totally gutted.
Viva (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 17, 2006report abuse
There is absolutely no difference whatsoever between an impersonator and a "Tribute Artist" - I am sick to death of hearing so called fans justify their admiration of these morons by calling them another name and trying to steer clear of the "Impersonator" label. Regardless of their (non-existant in my book) talents the fact remains that they are responsible for more bad publicity and public misunderstanding of Elvis Presley and his work than any other reason. For that reason alone, they deserve no recognition from any self respecting Elvis fan. There is no such thing as a good impersonator, they are all self-deluded, egocentric sad gits. Just because they stick on a jumpsuit with some jelly babies glued to it in the shape of a deformed eagle, wear a belt buckle the size of Priscilla Presley's surgery bill and warble at the end of each line they sing; some, alleged, Elvis fans think this is some kind of substitute. EPE and all you impersonator/tribute artist (or whatever else you want to label them) fans listen up: I've heard of this guy who goes by the name of "Elvis Presley", give him a listen - he's not bad. A message to EPE: Once again, you are a disgrace to Elvis Presley and his UNIQUE talent. You have allowed Elvis to, once again, become an object of ridicule and embarrasment by trivialising everything great he did in his career in this way.
June (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 16, 2006report abuse
Forget about the bad ones, the fat ones and those who can't carry a tune...and consider these. Doug Church....Shawn Klush....Brendan Bennett...Jamie Aaron Kelley...Kavan...David Allen...Donny Edwards...Robert Washington...Elvis Junior...Elvis Aaron...Mario..... I could go on. There are many, many good Elvis Tribute Artists who do not try to be our (and their) hero but, put on a darn good show for us and for Elvis. To show us and the world that he is not forgotten. Give these guys credit.
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 16, 2006report abuse
There have been only a handful of really good impersonators, one being Ronnie McDowell who is not an impersonator but a sound-a-like and a decent singer. Most are awful, very bad for Elvis' image. Notice this has never happened with The Beatles and groups trying to be like them. There were a few good tribute bands and they were very talented singers & musicians who even played Broadway. Unfort, the same cant be said for Elvis impersonators. Most belong at Holiday Inns!
JerryNodak (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 16, 2006report abuse
See June's post below. I agree.
Viva (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 16, 2006report abuse
Conclusive proof that EPE really have no regard whatsoever for Elvis' reputation in the entertainment world. How dare they claim to seek the “best representation of the Elvis legacy” that really is the ultimate insult to Elvis, his fans AND his talent. Well, for a little while it was ok to be an Elvis fan, but with the official seal of approval from EPE on being a twat, Elvis will lose fans, fail to recruit new fans and leave the rest of us to fend off a piss taking public. For christs sake, what is wrong with these people.
Mielvis (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 16, 2006report abuse
Lex...your an Elvis fan not an EPE fan. Seperate the two and you'll be fine. A real fan would not give up on the real Elvis
stanton (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 16, 2006report abuse
I can see a sophisticated contest of a bunch of real good voices in their natural outfit. That might be a good advertisement for the great music that Elvis had given us thru all the years and to keep it alive for the younger generations, too. But I can also see a bunch of more or less sophisticated jumpsuits trying to bear some weak attempts of karate movements from those who just happen to wear them at the moment of time. I hope for vision number one and for piety on at least the 16th of august.
ElvisDayByDay (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 16, 2006report abuse
November 16, 2006, a sad day in Elvis history.
MauriceColgan (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 16, 2006report abuse
There will be an Elvis impersonator contest in Tupelo during the City's Elvis Festival June 2007. The winner will go on to the Memphis finals in August. I have only seen a handful of impersonators perform. The guys who did the Jack Good Elvis Concert show in Dublin 1997 were very good. Nowhere near Elvis, but very entertaining and likeable guys. We met them for drinks after the show.
Steve B. (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 16, 2006report abuse
I must admit, this wasn't the type of big anouncement I was expecting. The problem with this entire genre (Elvis impersonators) is that there are so many of them that are BAD! We will be in Memphis to see "Elvis" at the Fed-EX Forum. Now, that will be something truly special.
joemin (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 16, 2006report abuse
On one extreme there are a number of goos impersonators, on the other extreme there are a hell of a lot of weirdos, many of whom think they are fans. Up to now the media has always latched onto the latter, with their slurring and mumbling, inflated guts and egos, and ridiculous wigs. There is nothing that can be done to cull out the plonkers. I suspect that EPE intends to bring the best of the impersonators into the fold and foster higher standards. This could be a good thing, I wish them well in thier efforts.
Lex (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 16, 2006report abuse
If even EPE is encouraging these idiots, it is time to step back in being an Elvis fan :-(.
June (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 16, 2006report abuse
Elvis Tribute Artists have been around since even before Elvis' passing. They work hard, are very devoted to our hero's memory and help keep the legacy alive. I have come into contact with so many young people who say that a Tribute Artist is how they discovered Elvis and I met them all in Memphis. Sure took EPE a long time to figure this one out.

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