x

Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Filipino Jun Espinosa wins first Elvis in Asia contest

With trademark pompadours, side burns and bejewelled jumpsuits, 23 performers from the Philippines, Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia paid tribute to their idol

Elvis impersonators and winners of the First Annual Elvis of Asia singing contest pose with their trophies at the conclusion of the competition as they pay tribute to the King of Rock and Roll to mark the 40th anniversary of his death. Bullit Marquez / AP photo
Elvis impersonators and winners of the First Annual Elvis of Asia singing contest pose with their trophies at the conclusion of the competition as they pay tribute to the King of Rock and Roll to mark the 40th anniversary of his death. Bullit Marquez / AP photo

More than 20 Elvis Presley impersonators shimmied, gyrated and belted out classics like Jailhouse Rock in Manila on Saturday at the first Elvis in Asia contest.

The King of Rock n' Roll died 40 years ago this week and contest organisers said they aimed to keep his style and music alive for a new generation of fans.

With trademark pompadours, side burns and bejewelled jumpsuits, 23 performers from the Philippines, Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia paid tribute to their idol.

"His music is timeless," said Filipino Jun Espinosa, who won first prize after his rendition of the Elvis classic Burning Love.

Elvis impersonator Jun Espinosa won the First Annual Elvis of Asia singing contest. Bullit Marquez / AP photo
Elvis impersonator Jun Espinosa won the First Annual Elvis of Asia singing contest. Bullit Marquez / AP photo

"Every generation can enjoy his music because it's so natural and it's so awesome and great. That's king Elvis," he said.

First prize included a free trip to Graceland, the Presley estate in Memphis, Tennessee, where thousands of fans gathered this week to mark the anniversary of the singer's death.

The contestants at the Manila event were judged on their appearance and their ability to imitate the charisma and music of Elvis.

________________

Read more:

Elvis Presley candlelight vigil at Graceland — in pictures

Tribute artists on what Elvis Presley meant to them on the 40th anniversary of his death

________________

"It's incredibly difficult," said Japan's Yukihiro Nishijima who sang You Gave Me a Mountain.

"Probably more difficult than any other artist because he has a 'rainbow voice' meaning he has seven different voices. Anyone who is a singer would know this," he said.

Elvis died suddenly at age 42 on August 16, 1977, from heart failure after battling health problems including weight gain and a dependency on prescription drugs.