Elvis Fest 2012

COSTA MESA, CA.  Elvis Fest 2012 at the Orange County Market Place was an entertaining menegarie of ETAs.  Each one contributing to the memory of Elvis and competing in the Crème de la King Elvis singing competition.

Crème de la King is a local ETA contest held throughout Southern California with the finals held at the annual LA County Fair in Pomona.  It’s a great big, Elvis karaoke fest bringing out the best and the worst performers keeping the memory of Elvis alive.  I’ll just detail some of the highlights of the event that garnered my attention.

L-R: Ben Canciller, Ryan Collingwood, Bill Parenteau and Bret Burkhart

Collingwood had a good look and sang I Want You, I Need You, I Love You well.  I knew right away he would be in the running along with Burkhart (How Great Thou Art).  Parenteau (Little Sister) had a good voice deserving to be in the finals.  Canciller (Wear My Ring) I don’t recall at all, in fact, I didn’t make any notation about my impression of him.  These four gentleman are on their way to compete in the finals.

Martin Anthony

Last year’s winner, Martin Anthony, is a veteran ETA who recently got back into the ETA scene after a 10 year absence.  On a whim, he signed up and competed in 2011 Ultimate ETA preliminary contest at Penchanga Resort and Casino in Temecula and placed fifth.  Many of us who watched the contest believed he should have at least placed second.  (We were hoping this guy would win.)  He showcased the OC  event and repeated the Elvis flash mob performance he choreographed for the Main Place Mall in Santa Ana.

Anthony has unmatched energy and charisma and it looks like his comeback is going to be a success.  We hope so.  He is one of the best ETAs out there.

Cadillac George & Clint Eastwood

Cadillac George & Clint Eastwood

Cadillac George, who looks more like the Clint Eastwood character, Gunny Highway, from the movie Heartbreak Ridge, than an ETA.  More astonishing was the voice that came out of this fella.  I was expecting a craggy old voice, out of tune and painful to the ears.  He sang That’s All Right, imitating the vocalizations of an early Elvis and sounded great.  (I should have got his story!)

Personally, I hope there is a female ETA out there who can capture the perfect illusion of Elvis Presley.  Her long raven hair is draped sultrily on the shoulders of a white jumpsuit, accompanied by just enough sensuality to make the whole illusion tasteful, yet, spectacular. Then after you take in the look she mesmerizes you with an extraordinary voice and sings like Elvis would sing if Elvis were a woman.  That whole fantasy is a contentious debate in my home with my wife rebutting my claim.

L-R Sue & Monique

Their wherewithal to be an ETA is admirable and perhaps has opened the door for the entrance for more talented female ETAs.  (Hmmmm..that gives me an idea.)


I think there was one diamond ETA in the rough who has the potential to become a great ETA.  His name is Gregory.  He sang It’s Now or Never with a lot of nervousness, but sang it good.  He was a handsome fella in his costume ensemble.  At least it wasn’t a Halloween costume.  We’ll keep our eyes and ears open for Gregory and see what becomes of his new adventure.  (I should have got his story, too!)

Mini Elvis

Lastly, there was Mike Murga, aka Mini Elvis.  Well, he was entertaining.  The spectacle of his enthusiastic performance had me questioning myself as to whether I was I was laughing at him or with him.  I ignored the twinges of guilt, resisted the urge to laugh out loud and just shot a few pictures and enjoyed it for what it was.

Truthfully, Elvis Fest 2012 was a rockin’ good time with Elvis fans, friends, and family.

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