Elvis impersonator is going to Graceland

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James Calvert

Landmark News Service

Elvis impersonator Eddie Miles is on his way to Memphis after winning first place in the preliminary round of the 2011 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest at Harrah's Casino in North Carolina.

Miles competed in a field of 17 Elvis impersonators for a cash prize and a ticket to Memphis to compete in the finals, which Miles refers to as "the Super-Bowl of Elvis competitions."

"I was happy about winning," Miles said. "I went down there competing against guys half my age."

Miles was handed a stack of $100 bills totaling $7,500, which he said is the biggest cash prize in the nation for a preliminary Elvis competition. At Miles' next stop in Memphis, he will compete against 20 Elvis impersonators for a $20,000 prize in the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest.

Miles said he is not "all shook up," but a little nervous about going to Memphis.

"I have mixed feelings about going to Memphis," Miles said. "I don't want to fall on my face in front of some of the guys who have been in the (competition circuit) for years."

Miles said the Elvis competition circuit is competitive and performers come from all over the world to compete in Memphis during Elvis week.

"They have guys who come from all over the country and from Canada as well and they come from overseas, from Japan and England," Miles said

Miles won second place in last year's preliminary round, which he feels he should have won. He said he feels "vindicated" after winning this year.

Miles performed Elvis classics such as "I Can't Stop Loving You," "Fame and Fortune," "Spinout," "Bridge Over Troubled Water," "Blue Suede Shoes," "My Way" and "Jailhouse Rock," which received a standing ovation.

Miles has a website, www.eddiemiles.com, and one of his fans, Rita Chiavacci, Jacksonville, is the moderator of www.eddiemileseta.com.

"Winning preliminary round of The 2011 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest was really a feather in Eddie's cap," Chiavacci said. "It's quite an accomplishment."

Chiavacci has been a fan of Miles since she first saw him perform 18 years ago. She plans to see Miles perform during Elvis Week in Memphis.

"When Miles performs, you close your eyes and you think you are hearing Elvis," Chiavacci said. "He does it with such class and perfection that once you see him you are hooked."