MESQUITE, NV. Elvis Rocks Mesquite has left the building amid celebrations of triumph and the disappointments of loss. Travis Powell earned the first place trophy and a $2,250 purse. Jacob Roman won the People’s Choice Award as the favorite ETA from fan votes submitted after each round.
Aside from winning first, the People’s Choice Award is the most coveted trophy because the winner is chosen by the fans. Emcee, Rich Vickers, went on to say Jacob is more talented than Cody Ray Slaughter when Cody was the same age as Jacob. That says a lot about Jacob’s talent because Cody Ray Slaughter is a superbly talented ETA whom Rich Vickers and many, many others recognize.
The disappointments lasted temporarily as the pressures of competing were relieved with humble congratulations by the runner ups and humble gratitude by the winners. Celebration among the camaraderie at the karaoke after parties took away whatever disappointments may have been lingering. Lots of laughter at the Copy Cats event, a little dancing, and a favorite beverage or two with friends at the after party is all it took to chase the competition blues away.
What a competition it was. The third round of competition consisted of 26 ETAs performing in the 1970s category. Since there were three competition categories for each era of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s there were multiple wins by the same competitor. Rob Ely, Drew Polsun, and Frank Werth placed in all three categories throughout the competition including placing in the finals. It’s obvious the judges found their performances consistent for each era.
The Top 4 in the 1970s category: Travis Powell (1st), E-Rock (2nd), Richie Santa (3rd), and Jim Westover (4th).
The Final Twelve
All the scores from the preliminary rounds were tossed into the proverbial wastebasket and the slate wiped clean. The finalists were scored solely on their final performance in three categories for a total possible score of 100 points: Appearance (59 pts), Vocals (36), and Emulation (10 pts). Incidentally, it would be the first time when no two finalists wore the same outfit. What are the odds of that happening in an ETA competition?
All 12 finalists brought their A-game and showed why they deserved to be in the Top 12. Moreover, they were demonstrating why they deserved to win. The judges did not have an easy task.
Drew Polsun chose Danny Boy for one of his final songs which was a bold choice because of its unfamiliarity. Close your eyes when Tyler James sings with his toned, strong, voice and he sounds like Elvis. Open your eyes to watch Jacob Roman, Rob Ely, or Daniel Jenkins shake, rattle, and roll and it might as well be the young King of Rock & Roll.
E-Rock showcased his ability to mimic other singers and vintage celebrities as the KJ for the karaoke after parties. He is quite the impressionist. However, when it came to singing like the king, his The Wonder of You and Unchained Melody were strong. It was more than an impression; it was an accurate representation of the voice of Elvis.
Travis Powell and Frank Werth both sang well, but also have an added it factor. It being the charming charisma that effortlessly makes people just like them. It certainly attracted the attention of the judges. This is Powell’s third win since first winning his ticket to the UETAC in Memphis at Mrytle Beach, FL followed by taking first in another UETAC qualifier in Lake George, NY. Werth has won the ERM’s People’s Choice Award several times.
Rounding out the Top 12 is Seve Botello, James King, Richie Santa, and Jim Westover. Botello’s personality is as big as his voice and both come across strong on stage. James King seems to be the opposite of Botello. King appears reserved off stage, but turns on the heat on stage with a flair for an exciting performance. Richie Santa talks with Brooklyn, NY colloquialism then transforms it into Elvis vocalizations. Jim Westover reminded us the reason why everyone was at ERM with a moving dedication to Elvis by singing American Trilogy.
In the end, there can only be one winner. To many of us, family, friends, and fans alike, they are all number one in our respective hearts. Powell earned first place ($2,250), Frank Werth earned second place ($1,000), and Rob Ely earned third place ($700). All the Top 12 were awarded both a trophy and a cash prize.
You’d think after crowning the winner that would be the end, but there is an encore. Copy Cats is the final event of the competition when some of the ETAs show off their other humorous personas by imitating other celebrities. They are humorous only because we majorly see the ETAs…well…sing as Elvis. To really appreciate the fun of the Copy Cats show would bare unjustly with wordy descriptions. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. You’ll just to have buy a ticket for the 2014 Elvis Rocks Mesquite and come join the fun.
Elvis Rocks Mesquite proved to be one of the most standout contests for its unique memoriam to Elvis before every round. The judging was also unique with its own methods to judge each contestant fairly which makes this contest a huge draw for competing ETAs. There is always a sense of “family” among the ETAs at every competition, but here it’s a bit stronger, a bit more real, and a whole lotta fun.
We want to thank Rich Vickers for recognizing Pompadour and giving us a shout out each night of the competition. It was a surprise and an honor to get recognized for our efforts. Our gratitude extends to show producers, Nereida Howe and Mark Meschino for a superb production. Thank you to event producer Sue Arko of Free Spirit Vacations and Events who provided a venue for the show and travel packages with great amenities . The Casablance Resort & Casino staff provided outstanding service and kept us fed and comfortable.
Thank you to all the ETAs who keep the memory alive for fans worldwide. Of course, none of it could happen without Elvis Presley and we are grateful for his talent.