There’s a folklore tale in the Philippines that over a dozen people have died in the past directly as a result of singing Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’ in videoke bars. Everytime I ask someone to explain why I get a mixed response. The most common perception is that it’s the hardest song to sing and the killings stemmed from discontent that the song wasn’t being performed to the standard that it deserved. The amount of deaths and the reasoning are a little blurry. Like a juicy gossip column overflowing with celebrity news. What is known, is that the fear of trouble erupting from singing My Way has been enough to scare many videoke owners to withdraw the hit from the song list.
There is no fear of death for Elvis performance artists in Manila belting out a cover of the old ‘Blue Eyes’ number. I should know; My neighbour is one of the star performers and I guessed his obsession long before I saw him don a bedazzled white jump suit. A night celebrating the life of 'The King' is the perfect cocktail combining Filipinos love for rock n roll & power ballad singing, celebrity culture and a nod to their American colonial past. The cast is made up of locals, foreigners living in the Philippines and international performers flown in for specific events. Every Elvis has his own shtick, costumes, moves and varying levels of Memphis accent. Local performers range from young hot shot Bam Angping dubbed 'Teenage Elvis Sensation' up to Chito Bertol, President of the Elvis Friendship club of Philippines and considered 'The Original Elvis of the Philippines', he has been performing Elvis songs for over 60 years.