Close your eyes, and listen to this voice. Think it’s Elvis? You’re not alone. This year Ben Portsmouth won the 2012 Elvis Tribute Artist Contest. Held during Elvis Week in Memphis, TN, the annual event showcases the singing talents of the best Elvis impersonators from around the world. The English-born Portsmouth, who performed 2 previous times at the annual talent showcase, snagged the winning title for his versions of Elvis Presley’s signature tunes “Suspicious Minds,” “Let It Be Me,” “Hurt” and “If I Can Dream.” Now that Ben’s returned to his home in the south of England, and unpacked his peacock jumpsuit and leather pants, he filled Travel Channel in on his time at Elvis Week -- and where to go to dress like the King.
I got into Elvis impersonating because: My dad used to listen to old rock ‘n’ roll tunes in the car. Elvis always stood out. Elvis had one of those voices that touches your heart and soul, you know what I mean?
I went to Elvis Week to: Win! It’s quite strange -- when you get on stage you have to become Elvis. Something just clicks.
The best way to travel here is: By plane. It’s a long way to swim.
I stayed at: The Memphis Airport Hotel and Conference Center. But I would recommend the Peabody because it looks like a really nice hotel.
When it comes to packing I always bring: My St. Tropez fake tan. Besides that, I’m rubbish at packing. I do it right at the last minute.
The best thing I ate was: Loaded potato skins -- a baked potato with cheese and bacon on it.
I wish I hadn’t: Well, I wish I had stayed at the Peabody.
Next time I will definitely: Stay at the Peabody. That’s for sure, baby!
Don’t miss: The Elvis concert at FedEx Forum. It was pretty amazing, quite touching. His original band members, Lisa Marie and Priscilla were all there. The saddest thing was that Elvis wasn’t.
My favorite part of the trip was: Within the Peabody there’s a shop called Lansky – the original clothier to Elvis. I bought 3 shirts -- one a ’50s black shirt with pink stripes. It was very expensive, but I thought, bugger, it’s only money.
Another great place for an Elvis-inspired getaway is: Hawaii. Elvis liked taking vacations in Hawaii, and obviously he did a lot of movies about Hawaii.
My advice for travelers would be: If you haven’t seen Graceland, you have to see it. By the time you see all the jumpsuits and records on the wall, and then walk outside to Elvis’s grave, it’s very touching.