Thousands of avid Elvis fans gathered in Tupelo, Mississippi on June 3, 2016 for the annual Elvis Tribute Artists (ETA’s) Competition. Among the contenders was Dunnellon’s own Cote Deonath. Cote has been performing Elvis’ music for 14 years; he started at the age of 5 at Boomtown Days in Dunnellon. He has traveled throughout the United States competing to earn the title of Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist (ETA).
Each year, Tueplo hosts a music festival that honors Elvis Presley, their native son, and the impact his music has had and continues to have on the world. Contestants spent the day Thursday visiting The King’s birthplace, statues and the site of his 1956 concert, which was his first big concert back in his hometown.
On Friday, each contestant donned their best Elvis’when the preliminary competition started. Contestants were judged on their vocal presentation, their movements, costuming and their overall presentation of the King. Each contestant works tirelessly to perfect their body movements, lip curls, and personifying the image of the King. The show didn’t stop there, on Saturday two additional rounds of preliminaries eliminated more contestants. Cote stood tall as one of the five finalists to compete in the evening competition.
“This is a very prestigious competition”, Cote said. And indeed the field of contenders included several former ETA winners, well-seasoned performers and even included a previous winner of the Ultimate Elvis Competition in Memphis. “It was an honor just to be in Tupelo and when I heard my name announced as a finalist, my heart was racing!” he exclaimed as he was getting ready for the final competition.
At the end of the evening Cote was awarded the Runner-Up Prize for his performance of “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” and a cash prize of $3,500. Cote was ecstatic to see that his vocals earned a perfect score from every judge. “I walked out and started singing to a sea of people and they were standing and whooping and hollering and I kept singing. It was a blast and an unbelievable experience”, said Cote.
Doug Church gave a great performance and his years of experience helped him to edge out a first place win. “Doug has been an idol of mine since I was a little boy and he is a fantastic performer. It was a dream answered just to be on the stage with him.” Cote said.
Cote will be home, in Dunnellon for a couple weeks preparing for competitions in Las Vegas and Memphis later this summer. A Dunnellon High School 2015 graduate, Cote has a great love for Dunnellon and the community. You can see many of Cote’s performance clips on Facebook as well as his performance schedule. “Follow” and “Like” Cote Deonath on Facebook to help raise his standings for competition sponsorships. “Remind everyone I will be singing for Dunnellon at the Christmas Celebration on Dec. 3” ~ Cote.