2016 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest Competitors

MEMPHIS, TN.  August 10th is the official launch date for the 2016 Elvis Week and the 10th Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest (UETAC) hosted by Graceland and Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

2016 Elvis Week

We have listed the 19 semifinalists with one more spot to be filled by the winner of the Last Chance ETA Contest hosted by the Hard Rock Cafe in Memphis.  The winner will be announced August 10th. (Update:  Travis Powell won Last Chance and becomes the 20th semifinalist.)

Following are the links to each ETA’s online website and a list of awards each one has earned during their career, if available.  At the end of the list is the UETAC schedule, other contest details, and some words of encouragement for the competitors.

Oliver Steinhoff
Qualified: Collingwood Elvis Festival
Years Performing: Unavailable
Hometown:  Germany
Awards:

  • 2007 European Champion Elvis Impersonator
  • 2011 Best Elvis in Las Vegas
  • 2012 Collingwood Elvis Festival – 3rd Place
  • 2012 Best Las Vegas Elvis in Porthcawl
  • 2014 Grand Champion Penticton Elvis Festival
  • 2015 Best International Elvis Porthcawl
  • 2016 Grand Champion Collingwood Elvis Festival

Cote Deonath
Qualified:  Elvis Tampa Bay Florida
Years Performing: 16
Hometown:  Ocala, FL
Awards:

  • 2014 Brunswick Elvis Festival Semi-Pro Champion
  • 2015 Live Oak Elvis Festival Grand Champion
  • 2015 Images of the King Semi-Pro Champion
  • 2015 Myrtle Beach Elvis Festival Semi-Pro Champion
  • Fan’s Choice Live Oak Elvis Festival 2009 – 2015

Marcus Jackson
Qualified: Viva Surfers’ Paradise
Years Performing: 25 years
Hometown: Melbourne, Australia
Awards:

  • 2013 Winner King of the World Semi Pro Division
  • 2015 Winner Elvis Down Under

Garry J. Foley
Qualified: Europe’s Tribute to Elvis Festival
Years Performing: Unavailable
Hometown: United Kingdom
Awards:

  • 2012 Elvis European Championship Finalist
  • 2013 Elvis European Championship Finalist
  • 2013 Porthcawl Elvis Festival – Best 68 Special
  • 2013 Europe’s Tribute to Elvis – 2nd Place Runner Up
  • 2014 Europe’s Tribute to Elvis – 3rd Place Runner Up
  • 2014 Elvis European Championship – 2nd Place Runner Up
  • 2015 Porthcawl Elvis Festival – Best Las Vegas Elvis
  • 2015 Europe’s Tribute to Elvis – Finalist
  • 2016 Europe’s Tribute to Elvis – 2nd Place

Matt King
Qualified: Penticton Elvis Festival
Years Performing: 23
Hometown:  United Kingdom
Awards:

  • 2015 International Elvis Masters – 1st Place
  • 2015 The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest – 3rd Place
  • 2016 European Championships Gospel Contest – 1st Place
  • 2016 European Championship Contest – 2nd Place
  • 2016 Grand Champion King of Britain ETA Championship – 1st Place
  • 2016 Penticton Elvis Festival – Grand Champion
  • 2016 Grand Champion Europe’s Tribute Elvis
  • Blackpool Elvis Festival – 1st Place
  • Images of the King – 2nd Place
  • Ultimate Elvis Contest/Elvis Masters – 3rd Place

Robert Washington
Qualified: Lake George Elvis Festival
Years Performing: 29
Hometown: Auburn, ME
Awards:  None listed

Doug Church
Qualified: Tupelo Elvis Festival
Years Performing: Unavailable
Hometown: United States
Awards:

  • 2013 Inducted into the Elvis Tribute Artist Hall of Fame
  • 2014 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist (semifinalist)
  • 2014 Heart of the King – Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2014 King of the World Contest – Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2014 Images of the King – Lifetime Champion Award
  • 2015 EPIC Elvis Tribute Industry Awards – Vocalist of the Year
  • And many, many more!

Austin Irby
Qualified: Myrtle Beach Elvis Festival
Years Performing:  9
Hometown: Honea Path, SC
Awards:

  • 2012 King of the Smokies Contest – Fan’s Choice winner
  • 2013 Images of the King – Non Pro – 1st Place
  • 2013 Images of the King – Georgia Elvis Fest – Non Pro
  • 2014 Fans’ Choice Award
  • 2014 Legends in Concert Competition – 1st Place
  • 2015 Tampa Bay Elvis Festival – 1st Place/Fans’ Choice Award
  • 2015 Collingwood Elvis Festival – 1st Place/Grand Champion – Pro Early Years

Dwight Icenhower
Qualified: Branson Elvis Festival
Years Performing: 18
Hometown: Pomeroy, OH
Awards:

  • 2011 King of the World ETA World Championship
  • 2011 Heart of the King Award – Las Vegas Elvis Fest
  • 2010 Heart of the King Champion
  • 2010 Images of the King – 1st Placer
  • 2008 Potawatami Casino Contest – 1st Place
  • 2007 Collingwood Elvis Festival – Grand Champion Early Years Division
  • 2006 Images of the King Horseshoe Casino – 1st Place
  • 2006 King of the Windy City – 1st Place
  • 2005 Isle of Capri Marquette Iowa Contest – 1st Place
  • 2005 Images of the King Spirit of Elvis Award Winner
  • 2005 Elvis Invasion of SW Florida – 1st Place
  • 2005 Lou Vuto’s Reflections Theater ETA Contest – 1st Place / Peoples’ Choice
  • 2004 Images of the King World Championship – 1st Runner Up
  • 2004 Ronny Craig’s Elvis Explosion – 1st Place
  • 2004 Bluffs Run Casino Elvis Contest – 1st Place
  • 2004 Memories Theater Contest – 1st Runner Up
  • 2003 Portage Elvis Fest – 1st Place
  • Ohio State Fair Elvis Contest – 1st Place
  • 2004 Irv Cass’ First Annual Elvis Fest 2004 – 1st Place
  • 2003 Toledo Elvis Fest – 1st Place / Peoples’ Choice
  • 2001 Las Vegas World Finals – 2nd Runner Up
  • Foot Hills Fall Festival Maryville Tennessee – 1st Place
  • West Virginia Lottery’s Search for Elvis Contest – 1st Place / Peoples’ Choice
  • Ohio State Fair Elvis Contest – 1st Place

Yukihiro Nishijima
Qualified: Elvis Festival of Japan
Years Performing:  Unavailable
Hometown: Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan
Awards: None Listed

Al Joslin
Qualified: Elvis Presley Continentals Charity Festival
Years Performing: 10
Hometown: Pace, FL
Awards: None Listed

Diogo Light
Qualified: Georgia Elvis Festival
Years Performing:  Unavailable
Hometown: Porto Alegre, Brazil
Awards: None listed

Victor Trevino, Jr.
Qualified: Texas’ Tribute to Elvis Festival
Years Performing:
Hometown: Ft. Worth, TX
Awards:

  • 2009 Branson Ultimate Elvis – 1st Place
  • 2008 Elvis Extravanganza – 1st Place
  • 2008 Elvis EXPO – 1st Place
  • 2011 Potawatomi Tribute to King Contest – Grand Prize

Ben Thompson
Qualified: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City
Years Performing: 7
Hometown: Surrey, England
Awards:

2011 Images of the King – Peoples’ Choice Award
2011 Porthcawl Elvis Festival – Best 50’s Elvis
2012 Porthcalw Elvis Festival – 1st Place
2013 Europe’s Tribute to Elvis – 1st Place
2014 Tupelo Elvis Festival – 1st Place

Jack Gatto
Qualified: Parkes Elvis Festival
Years Performing: 1
Hometown: Victoria, Australia
Awards:

2015 Parkes Elvis Festival – 1st Place
2015 Crown the King Crown Casino Contest – 1st Place
2015 Viva Surfers’ Paradise Ultimate ETA – 1st Place

Jeffrey Krick, Jr.
Qualified: Ocean City Elvis Festival
Years Performing: 26
Hometown: Pennsylvania, USA
Awards: None listed

Tim E Hendry
Qualified: Indiana’s Elvis Fantasy
Years Performing:  Unavailable
Hometown: London, Ontario, Canada
Awards:

  • 2010 Collingwood Elvis Festival – Grand Champion
  • 2010 Portage Indiana Elvis FANtasy Festival – Grand Champion
  • 2011 Windsor Elvis Festival – Grand Champion
  • 2012 Oconomowoc, Wisconsin Shake, Rattle & Roll – Grand Champion
  • 2012 Toronto Elvis Festival – Grand Champion
  • 2013 Sky Dancer Casino Shake, Rattle, and Roll Festival – Grand Champion
  • 2013 Lacrosse Wisconsin Elvis Explosion – Grand Champion
  • 2013 Portage Indiana Elvis FANtasy Festival – Grand Champion
  • 2013 King Trilogy Festival – Grand Champion
  • 2013 Philadelphia Elvis Festival – Grand Champion
  • 2013 King of the World ETA – World Champion
  • 2014 Toronto Flaming Star Festival – Grand Champion
  • 2014 Diamond Jo’s Casino King Explosion – Grand Champion
  • 2014 Lacrosse Wisconsin Elvis Explosion – Grand Champion
  • 2014 Waterloo, Iowa Blue Suede Memories – Grand Champion
  • 2014 Shake Rattle and Soul Festival – Grand Champion
  • 2015 Ocean City Elvis Festival – Grand Champion
  • 2015 Lacrosse Wisconsin Elvis Explosion – Grand Champion
  • 2015 Diamond Jo’s Casino King Explosion – Grand Champion
  • 2015 Georgia Elvis Festival – Grand Champion
  • 2015 Waterloo, Iowa Blue Suede Memories – Grand Champion

Ryan Pelton
Qualified: Pomeroy Sternwheel Riverfest
Years Performing: 18
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Awards:

  • 2001 Worldwide Images of the King Contest – World Champion
  • 2015 EPIC Elvis Tribute Artist Industry Awards – ETA of the Year Award
  • 2015 EPIC Elvis Tribute Artist Industry Awards – Industry Achievement Award
  • And many, many more!

Pat Dunn
Qualified: Tweed Tribute to Elvis Festival
Years Performing: 18
Hometown: New York City, NY
Awards: None listed

Travis Powell
Qualified: Hard Rock Cafe Memphis Last Chance
Years Performing: Unknown
Hometown: Shelby, NC
Awards: Unavailable

The 2016 UETAC Schedule, Locations, and Ticket Prices (excerpted from 2016 Elvis Week Event Guide – download your free copy by clicking here.)

Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest Semifinal Round – 7:00 p.m. Orpheum Theatre, downtown Memphis.

Hosted by Joey Sulipeck, enjoy hours of Elvis music and entertainment as 20 of the best Elvis tribute artists in the world compete for their chance to advance to the Ultimate Contest Final Round on August 13. The top 10 Elvis tribute artists moving on to the Final Round of the competition will be announced at the end of the Semifinal Round. Backing band will be the EAS Band. Two-day tickets are $69 (includes Semifinal and Final Round). The $139 VIP ticket is sold out. A one-day ticket to the Semifinal Round is also available for $29. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.com, by calling 800-745-3000 or in-person at the Orpheum Box Office

Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest – Final Round 7:00 p.m. Orpheum Theatre, downtown Memphis.

Hosted by Joey Sulipeck, enjoy a phenomenal show as the Top 10 Elvis Tribute Artists from the August 11 Semifinal Round compete for the title. The excitement will build throughout the night as the group is narrowed down from ten to five before the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist of 2016 is named. The show will also feature a performance by 2015 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist winner David Lee. Backing band will be EAS Band. Two-day tickets $69 (includes Semifinal and Final Round). The $139 VIP ticket is sold out. A one day ticket to the Final Round only is also available for $49. Tickets for this event will be available through Ticketmaster.com, by calling 800-745-3000 and in-person at the Orpheum Box Office.

How the Contest Works (excerpt from Graceland.com)

The contest in Memphis will include a Semifinal Round and a Final Round during Elvis Week 2016. All preliminary winners will compete in the Semifinal Round, with the top 10 Elvis tribute artists moving onto the Final Round.

The top three winners of the Final Round of the competition will receive a great cash prize along with a selection of other valuable prizes.

Ultimate Elvis Contest First Place Winner

  • Title of Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist of 2016
  • Recognition by Elvis Presley Enterprises
  • Cash prize of $20,000
  • Contract to perform with Legends in Concert
  • “Elvis Presley – The Album Collection” 60-CD Box Set

Ultimate Elvis Contest Second Place Winner

  • Cash prize of $3,000
  • Selection of other valuable prizes (TBA)

Ultimate Elvis Contest Third Place Winner

  • Cash prize of $2,000
  • Selection of other valuable prizes (TBA)

In addition, all Elvis tribute artists finishing in 4th through 10th place will receive a $500 cash prize.

Words of Encouragement
[Taken from a previous Pompadour blog post.]

The contestants are sizing each other up and many have competed against each other repeatedly. Eavesdrop on their conversations and you will hear quips like “my brothers in rock & roll” or “my ETA brothers” with one competitor wishing the other competitor the best of luck. However, these are men, and this is a competition. There can only be one winner.

Fans have their favorites and emphatically state in friendly conversations and Facebook comments who will win, who should win, and if my ETA doesn’t win, then it’s rigged. ETA contests are like sports; therefore, subjective to an individual’s emotional connection with their favorite. If the favorite wins, then he deserved it. If the favorite loses, then he was robbed. That’s okay. It’s all part of the whole experience and makes it very exciting. There is a lot of talent competing in this year’s contest and there is no guarantee who will win.

Every ETA looks in the mirror, judges himself, and sizes himself up against the competition. He knows his strengths and the competition’s strengths, but fights through the fear and doubt while keeping his eyes on the prize. He knows he must do his best to win. Every lyric, every note, and every move is rehearsed in his head over and over again until the emcee announces his name. He steps out on stage in a ray of blinding light to thundering applause and realizes it’s not really about the prize. The prize is just the finish line. It’s about what he will do with the song in the next three or four minutes when the music is cued.

My words of encouragement are simple and to the point: Rock it. Rock it like Elvis! Make sure the competition knows you are in it to win it. You can pat each other on the back when the curtain goes down. Good luck to each ETA, and of course, have fun.

Wishing the best of luck to all the ETAs.  Rock it like Elvis!

Rock it Like Elvis

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