Singer Marc Martel of Christian band Downhere is a sure fire candidate to make the semi-finals for "The Queen Extravaganza" tour.
Queen drummer, Roger Taylor, will announce those who made the semi-finals Nov. 9 after almost six weeks of open auditions. Public voting will take place Nov. 14.
The remaining members of Queen – Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon – who wish to retire from performing, are holding the contest. They are looking for the best replacement singers and musicians to create a Queen tribute group that can keep playing their music in future years.
All submissions are to be submitted via video on Youtube.
“The Queen Extravaganza will not be a traditional tribute show,” said Queen drummer Taylor on the band's website. “It’s a brand-new show specially designed to enable fans to celebrate the music of Queen in a heart-stopping event.”
The contestants had four classic Queen songs to choose from, "Killer Queen," "Somebody To Love," "Seven Seas of Rhye" and "I Want To Break Free."
"What an amazing storehouse of talent we have unlocked," said Taylor in a press release. "The standard is mind blowingly high, it's really a thrill getting to discover some of them, keep them coming!"
Round two will show each member of the competition playing a song assigned to them.
The press release states, vocalists must submit a video of themselves performing "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." Drummers must perform "One Vision," while guitarists must play "Keep Yourself Alive." Bassists will play "Another One Bites The Dust," and keyboardists must perform "Bohemian Rhapsody."
The semi-finalists will have between Nov. 9 and Nov. 13 to submit their videos, and will be judged by the public.
The videos have accumulated 6.4 million views. Martel had a chance to be on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" Oct. 3 where he sang a picture perfect version of "Somebody to Love."
The fans showed their support for Martel, and voted him winner of the MTV O Award last night for Best Fan Cover.
The press release said, "'The Queen Extravaganza; tour will feature three vocalists and a five-piece band and will be booked by powerhouse agency CAA. Taylor is fully hands-on, taking the role of producer and music director."
Martel is relatively new to many American and secular listeners, but in Canada and on the Christian circuit he's quite well-known.
He's one of the lead singers in Christian rock band Downhere, formed in 1999, which only became a band because of a school project. Jason Germain is the other lead singer, while Glenn Lavender plays bass and Jeremy Thiessen is the drummer.
The band was signed to Word Records after the label contacted the members through email. At first, the band members thought it was a joke, but after persistence from the company, they realized their dream.
Downhere has won several awards including the Juno Awards, Covenant Awards, Vibe Awards, Prairie Music Awards and Dove Awards.
Martel and Downhere are currently on "The Called Love" tour with Aaron Shust and Jason Gray, in promotion of their album “On the Altar of Love.”
The Queen contest ends in December 2011.
Watch the video below: