Elvis contestant Gus Mansour works through timing with Kentucky Rain Band’s Jeff Olson and Steven Preszler (far right) during a rehearsal for the band’s “Elvis Challenge” show on Friday at Historic Everett Theatre. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Elvis contestant Gus Mansour works through timing with Kentucky Rain Band’s Jeff Olson and Steven Preszler (far right) during a rehearsal for the band’s “Elvis Challenge” show on Friday at Historic Everett Theatre. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Who’s the best Elvis? They’ll croon for ‘The King’ crown

Get all shook up at “Kentucky Rain Band’s Elvis Challenge” on Friday at the Historic Everett Theatre.

EVERETT — Elvis is in the building.

All 12 of him.

What’s up with that?

Elvis impersonators from around the state will show off their sideburns and gyrating hips in the “Kentucky Rain Band’s Elvis Challenge” on Friday at the Historic Everett Theatre.

“Everett is the hub of Elvis activity in the Northwest,” Elvis tribute artist Rob Schwertley said.

Who knew?

After all, it’s not like you can find “The Elvis,” a peanut butter-bacon-banana sandwich, at many places on the menu around here.

Everett tribute band Kentucky Rain invited amateur Elvis acts to compete in their annual show.

Schwertley, 42, a digital advertising manager at Yieldmo and Elvis-for-hire as “Robbie Dee,” will perform with the band. At a recent practice session, he sang “Jailhouse Rock” and said “Thank you, thank you very much.” Just like the real Elvis.

KING-TV’s Jim Dever will host Friday’s 7:30 p.m. show and do an Elvis number. Admission is $25. Part of the proceeds go to the Everett Gospel Mission.

Elvis Presley, touted the “King of Rock and Roll” by Baby Boomers, would be 87 years old if he hadn’t done all those drugs and eaten all those peanut-butter-and-bacon sandwiches. (On at least one occasion he made a midnight snack run in his private jet from Memphis to a Denver diner that served his favorite fix with grape jelly.)

He died at his Tennessee mansion, Graceland, in 1977 at age 42.

His last words: “I’m going to the bathroom to read.”

In 2018, Donald Trump posthumously awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, along with Babe Ruth and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

A conspiracy theory among Elvis fans is that he faked his death and put a wax dummy in his coffin. There have been numerous alleged Elvis sightings. The thousands of imitation Elvises on stages, street corners and chapels have no doubt led to some of the confusion.

Local “Elvis Challenge” contestants include Shane Cobane, Steve Unger, John Nelson, Chris Mathews, Phil Edwards, Clay Volz, Voyce Greenlund, Brian Knudson and Transelvistite (the Return of Trans Elvis).

Gus Mansour (center) rehearses with Rob Schwertley (standing left) with Kentucky Rain Band members Steven Preszler, Jeff Olson, Troy Briggs and Dallas Cooper for Friday’s “Elvis Challenge” in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Gus Mansour (center) rehearses with Rob Schwertley (standing left) with Kentucky Rain Band members Steven Preszler, Jeff Olson, Troy Briggs and Dallas Cooper for Friday’s “Elvis Challenge” in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Another contender, Gus Mansour, 64, said Elvis was big when he was a teen. Back then, Mansour lived in Lebanon, and he played in a band with his four brothers.

“We were becoming known, but then the war started. How can you play when people are dying?” he said.

Mansour, a longtime Lynnwood resident, donned his first Elvis costume about eight years ago.

“You are right in the presence of Elvis’ soul,” he said.

He calls Elvis music a universal language.

”Elvis unites the whole world,” he said. “His music brings people together, away from all the divisions of religion and politics. When we dance or sing to his music we are all one. It lifts our spirits.”

Mansour does Elvis contests once a year for fun, not fame.

“I’m not a very good Elvis impersonator,” he said. “I advance other people. For someone to make number 1, 2, 3 or 4, you have to have somebody number 8. That’s me. I’m proud.”

You might have seen Mansour’s picture on the back of city buses and on billboards. As a real estate agent, that is. His day job.

Maybe he’ll do better than an 8 at Friday’s show.

Contestants will be judged on vocals, costume, stage presence and audience response.

At the end, all will perform a song on stage together, a herd of the dozen “Elvi.”

You can channel your inner Elvis on the dance floor.

For your next gathering, here’s how to make the ultimate Elvis blowout: Toast a buttered loaf of French bread. Slice lengthwise and hollow the interior. Slather one side with a jar of smooth peanut butter and the other with a jar of grape jelly. Layer a pound of bacon. Bananas optional. Feeds 10 people or one Elvis.

Andrea Brown: abrown@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

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