MLGW spokesperson Beverly Perkins won't comment on Mayor Jim Strickland's lip-syncing skills.
"We just don't know yet," she says. "We'll have to wait and see." Strickland, Memphis rapper Al Kapone, TV personality Gina Neely, auto dealer Mark Goodfellow, and Memphis broadcast vet Bev Johnson will square off at the Hard Rock Cafe in an all-out, lip-sync battle against the finalists in Lip Sync Plus, a competition sponsored by MLGW and MIFA to raise money and awareness for MLGW's Plus-1 program for customers experiencing economic emergencies.
In 1982, MLGW developed Plus-1 to provide financial utility assistance for customers in crisis. "Maybe they lost their job," Perkins says. "Or there was a medical emergency, or they were robbed." MLGW customers participate in the program by adding a dollar or more per month to their utility bill. MLGW turns that money over to MIFA who screen requests and administer the funds.
"Unfortunately, last year MIFA got around 17,000 requests," Perkins says. "And due to limited funds, we're only able to assist about 3,000 customers."
Celebrity lip-sync artists have their work cut out for them. Winners of the Lip Sync Plus preliminary round include "Super Freak" Aristarchus Neely; David Page who showed up with Prince's "Chocolate Box"; and Latasha Peeples, who donned a bolero hat and white gloves and hiccuped her way through Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror." But the contestant to beat is the fast-talking Carlie Lawrence, who rolled her eyes, banged on her chest, and executed a perfect take on Karmin's tongue-twisting "Look at Me Now."