THE KING AND I: About eight years ago I was singing in the shower and my girlfriend said I sounded like Elvis. She was in a local band, and she persuaded me to sing with them. Turned out I really enjoyed it. So I decided to get serious -- I traveled around to watch other Elvis impersonators, put together a routine. First, I did wedding receptions for friends. Now, I've performed all over the country -- for corporate events, tribute shows, contests and fundraisers.

ALL SHOOK UP: I do the concert years, the jumpsuit era. There are two parts: First, the early period from '70 to '75, when Elvis was in great physical condition. He brought his karate training into his performance; it made for a spectacular show. Then from about '75 on: the Elvis we wish we hadn't seen, who put on weight and doesn't seem like he's all there. The shows are very high-energy, but not at the level that the young Elvis impersonators have to maintain. There aren't many who can do a good job with young Elvis. It's too physically demanding.

SITTIN' PRETTY: Getting ready takes me about an hour. There's a bit of makeup, but the largest part goes to getting my hair just right. It's not a wig -- I wear it in this style all the time. People do a double take when I'm out and about. I don't look like Elvis up close, but from a distance I have a resemblance.

BLUE SUEDE BLING: The costumes get quite hot. They can be up to 25 pounds, and it doesn't take long -- 15 to 20 minutes -- before I'm sweating. The ones I like best are from B&K Enterprises (www.b-k-enterprises.com) out in Indiana. They use original patterns from the company that made Elvis's costumes. I bet we pay about the same prices he did. The costumes run from $2,300 to $6,000.

WELCOME TO MY WORLD: On the anniversary of Elvis's death in August, there's a week-long event in Memphis [Elvis Tribute Week, Aug. 7-16]. Part of it is the Images of the King Contest, for the best tribute artist. I'll be competing again this year. You have to bring your best. I've seen guys put on a phenomenal show in the preliminary and then fall apart in the finals. It's tough.

STILL LOVE HIM TENDER: Years ago, I thought as the older fans disappeared, the popularity of Elvis would fade. Now I see more and more younger people at the shows. Some become die-hard fans. If Elvis were alive today, there wouldn't be a venue big enough to hold him.

As told to Kelly DiNardo

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Oh, let him be . . . your teddy bear: Performer Wayne Rippy works the room.