By Talbert Toole
The Tupelo Elvis Festival hosts its 13th Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist (UETA) Competition this weekend in the BancorpSouth Arena for all Elvis Presley fans.
This year’s UETA competition has 18 contestants who are representing nine states and four countries.
The competition begins Friday, June 7 at 10 a.m. with performances from all 18 contestants. On Saturday, June 8 at 10:30 a.m. the top 10 contestants will perform in the semifinals, and then at 6 p.m. the top five contestants will perform in the finals. The 2019 winner will be announced shortly after.
“This year we’re excited about the fierce competition. Everyone competing this year is a top notch Elvis Tribute Artist,” said Ben McAlilly, program associate for Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association.
McAlilly said this year all but one of the judges knew Elvis personally, so the panel will be able to judge his likeness better than in past years.
Each contestant will be judged on overall singing ability, the ability to create a look and style that well represents Elvis, the ability to recreate the charisma Elvis created when performing on stage, and the quality of the overall performance.
This year’s competition is introducing an additional competition known as the “Becoming” Experience, according to McAlilly. The competition is for children ages 8-17.
“We think Tupelo is a great place to host a kids competition considering Elvis was a child when he lived here in Tupelo,” he said.
Some of the UETA competitors started when they were children, he said.
“It just makes sense to host something for the younger generation,” McAlilly said. “After all, somebody has to continue the legacy of the King.”
Nick Perkins won the 2018 UETA competition.
For the full Elvis Fest schedule, visit www.tupeloelvisfestival.com, and follow Tupelo Elvis Festival on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more updates and announcements.
For any further questions, call Tupelo Main Street at 662-841-6598.