Adam Fitzpatrick travelled half way around the world just to find his way back to Memphis.
The Elvis Presley tribute artist took top spot last weekend in the third annual Europe’s Tribute to Elvis in Blackpool, England. This earns him a berth to the Ultimate Elvis Competition, Aug. 11 to 17, in Elvis’s hometown of Memphis.
“It hasn’t really hit me yet. It hasn’t had time to sink in,” said Fitzpatrick on Wednesday. “Then I head to Vegas at 4 a.m. on Thursday so it might hit after that. I’m definitely really excited about winning there.”
Fitzpatrick had three competitions this month dialled up that, if he took first overall, would have landed him back at the biggest competition in the world. Last year he won first in the professional category at the Penticton Pacific Northwest Elvis Festival and carried on that momentum to second place overall at the Ultimate.
“I didn’t really know what was going to happen last year after placing second. I didn’t really have too many bites for really big, big shows so I just need to keep getting my name out there,” said Fitzpatrick.
The tribute artist said the experience in England put him in unfamiliar spot with no fans in the audience who knew him, nor did he really know much about the other competitors.
“It felt good going to a place where I’m not really well known and still getting lots of applause. People have a big passion for music and Elvis there but English people are very honest and will only give you a standing ovation if they think you really deserve it. You have to earn your applause and I was lucky enough to get two standing ovations in the finals,” said Fitzpatrick, who won a trophy and about $5,500 CDN.
For the first round Fitzpatrick and the rest of the tribute artists performed two songs with recorded tracks. He sang Just Pretend and It’s Midnight. The top 16 then sang with a live band. Fitzpatrick said he was lucky that he had all the songs he was comfortable with chosen as the ones he was to perform including Poke Salad Annie and My Way which sent him into the top seven.
“I was very lucky, usually in a competition you get half of the songs you wanted and half you didn’t. I was extremely happy with all the songs that got chosen for me,” said Fitzpatrick. “In the finals to do I Can’t Stop Loving You, which has power and moves and a little bit of everything then Bridge Over Troubled Water which is my ultimate favourite song is pretty amazing,” said Fitzpatrick, who finished off with an encore singing Wonder Of You, which has become a theme song of his having finished with it in Penticton and in Memphis.
Fitzpatrick plans on competing in Collingwood, Ont., and this weekend in Las Vegas comes with a special perk. The person he started this whole adventure with as a tribute artist will be competing alongside him. Fitzpatrick and Summerland resident Chris Kelso dared one another to get on stage at the Penticton festival years ago, which was the step that gave Fitzpatrick the confidence to leap forward in this career.
“It’s awesome. I wish Chris the best of luck and I know he is going out to have a lot of fun, to sing and do what he loves too,” he said.
They will be performing at the same stage Elvis once did at the Las Vegas Hilton.
“I’m going to do my best and try to win, but I want to soak it in and enjoy that part of it as well. I’m sure I will have goosebumps just like that first time I performed in Memphis, during Elvis Week and you have that band behind you. You really lose yourself in moments in your songs,” said Fitzpatrick.