We all love our singing competitions. They deliver the best in somber backstories, triumphant victories, and nail biting moments. Many times they deliver pop superstars that change the music landscape. American Idol gave us Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood: two record-breaking singers who have scored number one albums and sold out tours. The X-Factor gave us Fifth Harmony, the R&B pop girl group who gave us the massive hits Worth It and Work From Home. Each show has delivered us something new.
These shows let the viewers grow up with the artist. We see them in their everyday clothes in the audition rooms vying for a spot and chance at a career. We watch them go through the ranks and tough rounds in front of the judges. The biggest winners transform before our eyes and we choose our faves and vote for them to succeed on our phones and computers. Our favorite singing competitions provide a platform for up-and-coming talent with a stage and passageway to America’s televisions and hearts.
The Four: Battle for Stardom is Fox’s brand new reality television music competition. The show skips the audition rounds altogether and gets right to the good part: the performances. The six-episode series already featured the top four contestants previously chosen by the show’s producers as the ones to beat. Then following contestants are invited to battle the top four for a chance at their seat and opportunity to win.
The judges are a team of industry A-listers. There is hip hop legend and business mogul Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, producer and hip hop star DJ Khaled, pop star Meghan Trainor, and record executive Charlie Walk. They crack jokes and deliver the biting commentary with singer Fergie as host. There are tense moments between the judges and sometimes we disagree with their offerings and selections. Sometimes we love them and sometimes we love to hate them.
The Four has seen a steady rise in popularity. Ahead of its series finale, word of mouth has delivered the producers higher and higher ratings. Fans can’t wait to find out who will take home the crown and win the ultimate prize of a mentorship with the four judges. Fox has yet to announced a second season but measuring how fans fell in love with this season, we have no doubts that it will return. Check out everything you need to know about The Four: Battle For Stardom.
Memphis-born McKinney made it to the finale of The Four with a stunning rendition of the Aretha Franklin hit I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Loved You). The 20-year-old comes from a music family with most of her 6 siblings either sing or play an instrument. This may her biggest platform as a vocalist to date but she has toured the world as backup singer and even sang on the acclaimed Jools Holland show with Darlene Love, Sam Moore, a Eddie Floyd.
The dreadlocked starlet is only 16 years old but her voice replicates established artists such as Rihanna and Joss Stone. She may have made it to the finale but who can remember her tense elimination after her battle against Kendyle Paige. The judges were so stunned with the results that they decided to bring her back for the finale in a shock decision. Known for bringing the drama, fans can’t wait to see what the future will bring her.
Charlie Walk’s disgraced exit
Republic Records president Charlie Walk was brought in to play the Simon Cowell role on The Four. His biting criticisms and harsh commentary earned Walk the comparison by fans and critics alike. He is the man responsible for bringing Ariana Grande and Hailee Steinfeld’s singing talents to international heights. He dropped out of the show before the finale after several misconduct allegations. He denied the allegations but was placed on leave by the board of his label pending a full investigation.
Skipping the auditions
What The Four does differently than other hit series such as American Idol and The Voice is skipping the audition rounds altogether. The creators of the show have said what sets the show apart is that each of the six episodes are designed to replicate grand finales. In the first week we were already introduced to the four top singers in the ringer for the show’s finale. It is then up to the contestants to prove their worth and challenge the top four for their seats.
The larger-than-life judge was brought on as a mentor as a result of his impressive career. His last two albums when to number one on the Billboard Album Charts, and his last two singles featured pop music heavyweights Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper, and Rihanna. You may recognize his sound with his signature “we the best” vocal loop placed at the beginning of each of his productions. He has also produced hits for Rick Ross, Future, and Ace Hood.
Competing for the winning slot, Cannady hopes to impress audiences with his smooth and soulful voice to land the ultimate prize at the finale. The Los Angeles-based singer has toured as a backup vocalist and choir singer internationally and released his first single, Marrow, last year before deciding to compete on The Four. His massive voice has allowed him to compete in the competition without any risk of elimination. He is also an active social media user and frequently interacts with his fans and posts fabulous selfies.
In an intense moment this season, Boyd lost in Week 3 in a battle against Tim Johnson Jr. She was brought back in Week 5 and will compete in the finale. The 27-year-old R&B singer had some success before joining the show. She was signed to Epic Records and Sony Music Entertainment for two years and released a single that featured hip hop star French Montana. She decided to take her career and PR into her own hands and auditioned for The Four on her own terms.
Sean “Diddy” Combs
Combs has worn a number of hats throughout his nearly three-decade career. He has been a record executive, a music producer, an actor, an artist, and a fashion mogul. Forbes reported last year that he has a net worth of $820 million. The business expert signed on to The Four in hopes of mentoring an artist’s career in all aspects of their career from executive producing an album and managing their PR. Next up for the the Grammy Award winner is a new upcoming album under his own name.
What also makes The Four such a unique concept is that its grand prize isn’t a pile of cash or a record deal. The show promises the winner a full mentorship program with the four judges. They will work with the artist to produce a hit single, manage their style and appearance, pitch their song to radio and television, and hopefully build a career from the ground up. The only prize that is guaranteed is a radio agreement with iHeartRadio to send the winner on a promotional radio tour when the show wraps.
The All About That Bass singer has built a career as both an artist in the spotlight and a hit songwriter behind the scenes. She has written hits for Jennifer Lopez, Fifth Harmony, and Little Mix. She has released a number of hit singles along with All About That Bass including No, Lips Are Movin’, and Like I’m Gonna Lose You featuring John Legend. She was brought on as a judge for The Four as the hitmaker. She guarantees she will write the winner a smash single.
A fiery moment
Week 5 brought the surprising elimination of Jason Warrior. The big-voiced gospel singer lost out to finalist Vincint Cannady in a heated showdown for the final slot. The elimination even sparked an uneasy exchange between Warrior and Meghan Trainor. After he lost he got off the stage to confront Trainor on what he believed was her unfair criticisms. The awkward moment led to security being called to usher Warrior back on to the stage and he gave a gracious goodbye.
Altercation on set
Meghan Trainor told Jimmy Fallon on his talk show that there was one incident in particular that left her in tears. She says that after one of her favorites was eliminated the men on the panel wouldn’t let her speak. She tried to fight back tears but it was no use. “I had to get up and leave, I don’t know how much they’ll show, I got into it with the other panelist,” she said. “It got aggressive.”
Building an audience
When the show premiered at the beginning of the year, audiences and critics alike were unsure about the series. Critics panned it with Brian Lowry at CNN saying that the show offers no reason to tune in each week. Eventually the audience disagreed with the critics and its Week 5 episode saw the show’s highest ratings, even more so than its premiere. 3.76 million people tuned in to watch the big reveal of who would make it to the final round.
Poised as an early fan favorite when the show premiered, Australian-born Ash Minor was brought back once after he was eliminated in Week 2. Fans loved his raspy and soulful voice and were eager to see him return to the stage. He was eliminated right before the finale, however, but vowed to be back. He is no stranger to reality competitions himself and made it to the top 12 on X Factor Australia six years ago under his birth name, Adil Memon.
Audiences loved Paige’s moxie when she chose to battle fan favorite Zhavia in a challenge that ended with Zhavia packing her bags. Her confidence wasn’t enough to keep her on the show and in Week 5 she was eliminated following a passionate battle against Evvie McKinney. She urged her fans that her elimination is not the end of her career. “This is absolutely just the beginning of my story,” she told cameras before her departure.
The show’s creators
Fox bought The Four from an Israeli media and production company called Armoza. The company specializes in creating and selling ideas for TV shows to a larger market. The idea for the show was conceived by Amsterdam-based businessman Elwin de Groot. The U.S. was the first territory to buy the series but Norway, Denmark, Italy, and France quickly followed suit. Their versions of The Four will premiere later this year. Fox bought the show to compete with NBC’s The Voice and the return of American Idol at ABC.
The comeback episode
After both Ash Minor and Zhavia were kicked off the show, the producers decided to have a comeback episode to pin both artists against each other for a spot on the final four. The tense episode featured Ash singing Bruno Mars’s When I Was Your Man battling with Zhavia performing Cardi B’s hit single Bodak Yellow. The panel was split with Diddy siding with Zhavia and Meghan Trainor siding with Ash as the one to beat. Eventually the judges selected Zhavia to proceed to the final.
Although the winner of the series has yet to be announced, fans have gravitated towards Zhavia. Her social media numbers skyrocketed after her debut on the show. The 16-year-old vocalist was interviewed on Fox News and the host even said that she noticed the judges turn to her for opinions and advice about the other vocalists. Her renditions of French Montana’s Unforgettable and the Fugees’s Killing Me Softly with His Song have clocked more than one million streams each on Spotify.
Like mother like daughter
Zhavia’s signature dreadlocks come courtesy of her mother, Bobbi Jo Black. She runs Hot Head Dreads, a Los Angeles hair salon that specializes in dreadlocks. She and her daughter are incredibly close and Zhavia even brought her mother as her guest to this year’s Golden Globes. Zhavia has said that her goal is to be able to buy her mother a house with the millions she is certain she will make off her budding music career.
The hostess with the mostest
Fergie was the last celebrity to join The Four. The Black Eyed Peas frontwoman told reporters after her job handling host duties was announced that she was eager to part of a show that paved the way for future artists. She even said the show made her emotional. “I know how it feels,” she said. “There are so many times that I was just tearing up and I am thinking in my head ‘Don’t lose it right now. Get it together.’”
Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson
Before Fergie led the Black Eyed Peas to success and also established a successful solo career herself, she was an actress, dancer, and member of pop girl group Wild Orchid. After struggling with illegal substances abuse issues, Fergie left the group and met will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas a few years later. She recently released her second solo album, Double Dutchess. The album is the sequel to her multi-platinum solo debut, The Dutchess, which featured the massive hits London Bridge, Glamorous, and Big Girls Don’t Cry.