Riverdale High School's Marcus Pendleton is competing in ABC's "Boy Band" television show. The 16 year old junior is one of 30 vying in front of celebrities for the position.
"I quit sports, did not hang out with friends, I focused on my craft by learning from other artists, and performing at various local places and different states," Pendleton said through an email on his last day of rehearsals for the ABC show Boy Band. "People saw my drive and expected me to be where I am at now. Hard work, focus, dedication, and believing in yourself will take you a long way."
For the past several weeks, Marcus -- a junior at Riverdale High School -- has been one of 30 boys competing on the show, in front of celebrity mentors, who are called the "architects." Those architects are Nick Carter, Timbaland, Emma Bunton along with host Rita Ora.
The contestants have been trimmed down to eight -- Marcus is one of the favored finalists -- and the top five winners will be announced on next week's finale on Thursday evening. The winners are selected by viewers who can vote from 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 17 through 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18.
"It is surreal and humbling," Marcus said. "The fact there are millions of viewers watching this show weekly and fans from all over the world contacting and supporting me."
He added: "I remember sharing the stages with some national known artists as an opening act. Now I am literally a person the fans come to see."
Marcus was born in Tullahoma and raised in Manchester before moving to Murfreesboro with his mom, Sarah, and three younger siblings, who also attend Rutherford County Schools. He's a member of the advanced ensemble, which is known as the Riverdale Singers, choir director Brenda Williams said.
"Marcus is one of those rare, talented students whose passion and enthusiasm about singing and performing is very contagious," Williams said. "It is a privilege to have him in our choir program and have him share his talents with other students. He's the kind of student I would love to have a classroom full of. And while we already miss him here, we are all so very proud of what he is accomplishing toward his dream."
Marcus' talent has been recognized by many.
At the beginning of the show's season, E! News evaluated each of the 30 contestants and ranked Marcus the fourth best. If those predictions hold true, it would mean that Marcus would be one of the five selected to perform, record and tour as a new "Boy Band."
Another compliment came from Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys, who during a recent episode told Marcus that if he didn't get selected as one of the winners, Carter would be the first person in line to purchase Marcus' solo album.
"It felt awesome to hear it from someone of his status," Marcus said. "All the architects have shown me great love, but when Nick started having the audience chanting, it was monumental."
The finale will air on ABC at 7:00 o'clock next Thursday night, August 24th, when the results from this week's votes will be announced.
Regardless of the outcome, Marcus has a bead on his future plans.
"My plans all depend on whether or not I make the show,"Marcus said. "If I make the show, I will start working on an album with the group in L.A., but if I do not make the show, I will continue to work on my solo projects and possibly a couple of small tours around the country. "
For performance videos from the show and voting information, visit http://abc.go.com/shows/boy-band.