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‘American Idol’ finalists visit Graceland

Priscilla Presley says Elvis ‘had to audition’ too
/ Source: The Associated Press

Calling Elvis Presley America’s “first idol,” Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley welcomed the finalists of “American Idol” to Graceland amid cameras and screaming fans.

The Presleys and the finalists were at the rock legend’s home Saturday to shoot the TV show’s next installment with an Elvis theme and a critique by music producer Tommy Mottola. The show will air Tuesday.

Priscilla Presley said the show’s presence at Graceland was appropriate because her late ex-husband shared many of the “Idol” contestants’ experiences.

“Elvis, too, had to audition,” she said. “He was laughed at. He was basically booed off stage. He had to struggle with the fact that he came from very humble beginnings and didn’t have opportunities to have others experience his talent.”

Contestants Chris Daughtry, Taylor Hicks, Katharine McPhee and Elliott Yamin waved and took pictures of the yelling crowd as their sport utility vehicle inched through the mansion’s gate.

Nearly four years after its debut, “Idol” continues to rule the ratings. It has attracted 25 million to 33 million viewers each telecast this season. The winner will be crowned May 25.

Priscilla Presley, who with her daughter had lunch with the contestants, said she’s been a fan of the show for years.

“I think it’s a great thing. I love the fact that these are people from all over the United States who probably would never have had the opportunity to be in this position,” she said.