Saturday 22 November 2014

Elvis tributes compete to be King

Published 06/01/2013 | 16:35

John Paul Melling, aged six, alias Johnny B Goode, waits to perform during the under-14 European Elvis Championships

Elvis Presley impersonators from across the globe have gathered together to compete to be crowned Europe's next big King.

More than 70 wannabe rock and roll idols descended on the Hilton Birmingham Metropole hotel to strut their sequinned stuff in front of judges in the European Elvis Championships.

The annual event is held around Elvis' birthday weekend on January 8 and celebrates the musical and cultural icon who died at the age of 42, on August 16, 1977.

The contest, which is the largest of its kind in Europe and is in its 10th year, will see the pelvis-swivelling winner of the grand prize awarded the accolade for best act, as well as a cash prize, a trip for two to Memphis, Tennessee, and a specially made jumpsuit created by designers who tailored Elvis's elaborate outfits.

Organiser Michael King, from North Wales, said the 72 competitors hail from all over the UK and as far afield as Austria, Italy, France, Hungary and Germany.

Mr King, who has himself been paying tribute to Elvis with a theatre show for around the last 20 years, said the event was a chance to pay homage to the world renowned artist.

"I think first and foremost there was only one Elvis," he said. "He was a one-off, his music stands the test of time. There's so many different things, so many different facets to Elvis, and his musical career. There really is something for everyone. He is loved the world over."

The standard of the tribute acts competing, some of whom are professional impersonators and spend thousands on their stage outfits, was so uncanny it was almost like the King had returned, he added.

"He is certainly here in spirit," Mr King said.

Also included in the weekend is an under-14s competition, a gospel competition, live bands, Elvis showcases, Elvis merchandise, Elvis disco, Elvis video, and a novice contest.

Press Association

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