Gospel Soundcheck

On tonight’s The X Factor results show, Melanie Amaro, Josh Krajcik and Chris Rene went through to the next round and Marcus Canty was sent home.

OK, OK, I know, I know. I ‘ve been hard on Marcus Canty the last few weeks, so you may be thinking that I’m happy he went home tonight. I wasn’t happy to see anyone go home, but it was the most logical outcome. After three weeks in the bottom two, it seemed like this was going to be his time.

To his credit, he was as positive and upbeat and gracious as always. While I haven’t been a fan of most of his performances (he’s so talented but he was given corny stage productions with too many slinky dancers for my tastes), he’s a super great guy and I hope he goes on to great things. I’m sure he will.

Asked for his parting comments, Marcus said, “This is not the last time you’ll see Marcus Canty. God has blessed me so much.”

Also on the show, we saw performances from Florence and The Machine and Nicole Scherzinger. Loved them both.

Next week the final three contestants perform – yesterday I predicted that Melanie and Chris would be the final two standing, and I think Melanie would win. But to be honest, it’s really a toss up. All three of the final contestants are super talented with huge fan followings and I’d be happy to see any of them win.

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We’re down to the wire on this first season of The X Factor, and there’s one burning question still yet to be answered:

How is it that Marcus Canty is still in the competition?

Don’t get me wrong. I like the guy. A lot. He’s super sweet and he is talented (as he’s proven several times with his “save me” song). But every week he gives these corny performances, complete with slithering, scantily clad women – and this from the guy who stresses his Christian faith? I don’t get it.

Now that we’re down to the final four, the differences in talent are glaring. Melanie Amaro and Josh Krajcik are far above Marcus Canty. And while Chris Rene may not live up to Melanie and Josh vocally, he’s definitely a contender when it comes to talent.

Tonight the contestants sang two song; the first was the Pepsi Challenge song chosen by fans, and the second was their own choice. Let’s just say that the fans picked better songs than the mentors have over the last few weeks.

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Marcus’s fan choice song was “I’ll Make Love To You”; his second song was “Careless Whispers.” Seriously. The first was complete with a corny rose for a fan in the audience moment and some very strange dancer in red satin behind him on stage. His second performance had him surrounded by slinky dancers. Oh yeah, and he sang, although not as well as last week. But you’ve got to give the guy props for being a super all around great guy. Simon called Marcus’ second performance “horrific” and said it was “like being in a Vegas show in 1980”, adding that it was “a  joke.” Harsh words, but speaking just the performances? I think Simon’s right.

If last week was a tough week for X Factor Nicole Scherzinger after she voted to send home Drew, this week might be downright dangerous. After host Steve Jones announced that Chris Rene, Josh Krajcik and Melanie Amaro were straight through to the semi-finals, Marcus Canty and Rachel Crow were left to sing for their spot in the competition.

Oh yeah, there were guest appearances from Lenny Kravitz and Mary J. Blige tonight, too. But back to the good stuff.

This was a tough week all around, because all of the contestants were great. I think Marcus should have gone home a couple of weeks ago; I think he’s a super guy but I’m not a fan of the corny stage productions. But for the third week, he was in the bottom two. Rachel probably wasn’t at her best last night, but someone had to be in the bottom two. And Melanie, Josh and Chris were superb.

Marcus seemed comfortable in the bottom two again; Rachel was nervous but trying to be positive.

It’s official: today the line up was announced for the Queen Extravaganza tour, and Downhere’s Marc Martel has officially made the band!


Marc became an internet sensation when his YouTube audition went viral with more than 4 million views, earning him an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres show and an MTV O Music Award. This week, the final auditions took place in LA and the line up was announced today.

Not that there was ever a doubt.

In case you’ve missed it, as part of this year’s celebration of Queen’s 40th anniversary, Queen drummer/songwriter/singer Roger Taylor launched an American talent search to offer musicians the opportunity to star in the Queen Extravaganza Live Tour, scheduled to hit the road in 2012. There were several rounds of competition, including fan voting, and the final decision was made by Taylor.

The complete line up for the Queen Extravaganza is:

VOCALS – Jennifer Espinoza (San Antonio, TX)         
VOCALS – Marc Martel (Montreal, QC / Nashville,TN)
GUITAR – Tristan Avakian (Toronto, ON)               
GUITAR – Brian Gresh (Tulsa, OK)          
DRUMS – Tyler Warren (Camden, TN)               
BASS – Francois-Olivier Doyon (Quebec City, QC)

You can learn more on the Queen Extravagana website, including when the Queen Extravaganza will be in your town.

And you can learn more about Marc Martel and the band Downhere on their website.