7:05pm PT by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
'The Four' Crowns Season One Winner
Thursday night marked the sixth and final episode of Fox's The Four: Battle for Stardom, the new singing competition format on Fox. Host Fergie and panelists Sean “Diddy” Combs, DJ Khaled and Meghan Trainor were back, but in the wake of sexual harassment allegations, Charlie Walk did not return.
For the past six weeks, artists have attempted to unseat “the four.” Potential challengers sang solos, and the panelists had to unanimously vote in favor of the newcomer directly challenging a member of the four sitting artists. The challenger then chose one of the four to go head-to-head with, and both artists sang. The decision for who got to stay and who had to go was then in the hands of the live audience. During week five, four artists who were previously eliminated got to come back for another chance.
Now, heading into the finale, the final four were Evvie McKinney, Zhavia, Candice Boyd and Vincint Cannady. Zhavia and Boyd were both comeback artists who prevailed during their second chance. The winning artist, crowned at the end, gets a record contract and the title of iHeartRadio’s On the Verge artists, jumpstarting their career.
The rules on the last night were a little complicated: For round one, each member of the four performed, and the audience voted for their favorite. That artist then got to choose who sang against who in head-to-head battles in round two.
The first artist to perform was Boyd, who sang “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt, making it her own by playing with the melody just enough. “You just continue to grow right in front of our faces,” Combs said, adding that her range is seasoned.
McKinney was up next, singing “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner. She brought the fire, proving herself as a vocalist and a performer. It was a smart song choice for the round, allowing her to really put on an entertaining show for the audience. “That performance was fearless,” Combs said. “That was my favorite performance on this stage throughout the entire season,” Trainor added.
Cannady was up next, singing “Creep” by Radiohead, showcasing his gorgeous tone, range, and ability to emote. It was a risk to choose a ballad for this round, but it worked because of how strong his voice is and his commitment to really telling a story. The panelists were pleasantly surprised by the performance.
Zhavia went into her performances focusing on song choice. For round one, she sang “One Dance” by Drake, and Trainor and Combs both said it wasn’t her best performance. Trainor wondered if she was distracted by her uncomfortable shoes, and Combs said that he wasn’t feeling her energy from the moment she stepped onstage.
The audience then voted for their favorite of the four. McKinney won the first round, giving her the first choice of who to challenge. McKinney did the smart thing and challenged the only artist to really receive negative feedback during round one: Zhavia.
Zhavia opened round two by first taking off her uncomfortable boots and then singing “Man Down” by Rihanna. The 16-year-old artist gave a solid performance and showcased her interesting voice, but she just didn’t seem as experienced as the other artists in the competition.
McKinney followed with a soulful performance of “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers. Her vocals were on point, and her breath control was particularly impressive. The panelists thought it was a pretty even match, Trainor saying she was proud of Zhavia for coming back stronger.
The panelists had to pick a winner, and Khaled genuinely wanted to abstain, but Trainor and Combs talked him into making a decision. They picked McKinney to advance, ending Zhavia’s tenure as a panel-favorite member of the four.
Next up, Cannady got things started with his performance of “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars. Cannady has a strong sense of who he is as an artist, and that came through in the performance. He also hit a fantastic high note toward the end.
Boyd followed with a performance of “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston. It was a powerful performance, and Boyd possessed confidence, looking very comfortable onstage as she delivered a very strong vocal and lyrical interpretation. The panel voted for Boyd to advance to the final battle with McKinney.
After a performance from French Montana and lots of filler montages, it was time for the final performances of the season. McKinney started things off by singing “Glory” from the movie Selma. It was another powerful performance from McKinney, who really exhibited a vast range with her three song choices. She got a standing ovation from all three panelists.
Boyd followed with “Stay” by Rihanna, and she secured a standing ovation from the panelists as well, giving a bold performance without oversinging. She connected with the words she was singing, and it was a magnetic performance.
The panel ultimately decided to crown McKinney as the winner of season one.