Canada's Leah Marlene To Compete On 'American Idol' Finale


Next week’s American Idol Season 20 finale will feature one Canadian contender, it was revealed Sunday.

Leah Marlene, the Toronto-born singer who calls now calls Illinois home, will compete for the title against HunterGirl and Noah Thompson.

Marlene, the daughter of Derry Grehan of Canadian rock band Honeymoon Suite, performed The Pretenders’ 1994 song “I’ll Stand By You” and the 1983 Journey track “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” to earn enough votes for a spot in the finale.

Toronto university student Nicolina Bozzo was eliminated at the end of Sunday’s episode after making it into the Top 5.

Marlene, who turns 21 in June, told Billboard she was approached by producers about auditioning at a time when she was struggling with mental health issues. “I was so freaked out by the fact that I was even considering this idea,” she recalled. “It shifted every paradigm of what I saw for my life, and then I decided, ‘What the hell! Why not?’

“I’m in this crazy transitionary season and I don’t know why this feels different but it does.”

Marlene auditioned for Idol in Nashville with “She’s a Self Made Man” and went on to cover songs like Blondie’s “Call Me” and The Turtles’ “Happy Together.” She also performed an original, “Wisher to the Well” on one episode.

Early winners of American Idol found fame and fortune (Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood) – as did several competitors who didn't win (Adam Lambert, Jennifer Hudson, Gabby Barrett) – but winners from recent seasons have struggled to breakout.