Entertainment

Penticton man places at Ultimate Elvis Competition

Penticton Pacific Northwest Elvis Festival pro category winner Adam Fitzpatrick placed second at the Ultimate Elvis Competition in Memphis last week. - Mark Brett/Western News
Penticton Pacific Northwest Elvis Festival pro category winner Adam Fitzpatrick placed second at the Ultimate Elvis Competition in Memphis last week.
— image credit: Mark Brett/Western News

Adam Fitzpatrick was ready to run a victory lap, despite not being named the overall winner at the biggest Elvis tribute artist contest in the world held in Memphis last week.

“My heart was pumping and I was confident but at the same time just being in that top five was amazing. Honestly never did I think I would be in the top five and I did not expect to come in second place overall,” said Fitzpatrick. “I had to hold back when they called my name because second is not the winner, but I wanted to do a victory lap on that stage so badly.”

The Elvis tribute artist won his way to the Ultimate Elvis Competition semifinals in Memphis after being crowned the top professional at the Penticton Pacific Northwest Elvis Festival in June. Last year at the Ultimate contest he finished in the top 15 and he went in this time with the goal of making top 10. He sang I Can’t Stop Loving You, a song he performed at the Penticton finals, to break into the top 12. Six tribute artists were advanced to the top 10 and Fitzpatrick had to battle it out for one of the four remaining spots. He slipped on his leather outfit and performed One Night which earned him a spot in the top 10. Fitzpatrick next performed one of his favourite song’s, Bridge Over Troubled Water, a song he said he use to get shivers from when hearing fellow tribute artist and Summerland resident Joe Kelso sing when they would perform together with Chris Kelso as Elvis Generations. His second song was Steamroller Blues that launched Fitzpatrick into the top five.

“When I got called into the top five it started to get shocking but actually relaxed me a little more because I couldn’t believe how far I had made it. Every time I went on stage I felt more and more comfortable. I just had so much fun,” he said. “So much of it was a blur last year because it was my first time. This year I picked songs I usually just wouldn’t think of doing. I picked fun songs that I could connect with and have fun with on stage.”

His final song was also one he performed for the finale as the pro category winner in Penticton, The Wonder of You, a ballad that has sentimental meaning for the tribute artist as it is his parents' song, and one he also holds close with his girlfriend.

It has a lot of meaning. My girlfriend Sandi came down to Memphis with her parents, my parents were there and some of our friends. I wasn’t even thinking of Wonder of You for my Top 5 song and it just came out of my mouth. When it did I pointed up at Sandi in the crowd and she knew it was for her,” said Fitzpatrick.

It was Dean Z who won the berth to the semifinals at the Rockin’ Elvis Fest at Pala Casino and beat out Fitzpatrick for the first place prize of $20,000 and a contract with Legends in Concert. The local Elvis tribute artist said the judges chose the right winner and Fitzpatrick walks away with $3,000 in prize money and backstage he had Legends In Concert approach him about a possible contract.

“Hopefully I will be starting up with them in the new year. Really the title of Ultimate Elvis is great, but it is not what I am going for. I am doing this to move forward in my career and Legends has been my dream the past couple of years to do those kinds of shows. It means I will always play with a band, they do the Elvis, Elvis, Elvis tour and bigger productions. It also means a lot less stuff I have to worry about on the business side of it,” said Fitzpatrick.

Making it to the top five wasn’t the only memorable moment for the tribute artist, the semifinalists also were given the chance to perform at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital for a surprise party for the patients. Children and their families watched as the tribute artists belted out the hits of The King. It was just in the spirit of Elvis who was known for donating his time and funds to so many in need when he was alive.

“It was really cool. It was a different experience and rewarding. We were all complaining how early it was in the morning but then you see these infants in the hospital and I know of two of the three babies we saw had never left the hospital in their life. It makes you re-evaluate and look at your life differently,” said Fitzpatrick.

While continuing to soak in these experiences and riding his success, Fitzpatrick has no plans to stop and is already booked up until the middle of November with shows throughout B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan.

“I’m going to keep doing what I have been doing and make sure I don’t go too fast for my own good. I want to make sure everything I am doing fits into my life, but I am really excited to see what happens in the new year. It is going to be a change of pace and maybe a lot more travel, but I am really looking forward to it,” he said.

Fitzpatrick is in Alberta this weekend for the Blue Suede Music Festival and will return for performances in Penticton on Sept. 13 at Skaha Meadows Golf Club and Sept. 15 at the Cleland Theatre for the Louisiana Hayride show. For more information on his shows visit www.elvisevolution.com.

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