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Fox’s The Four: Battle for Stardom returned for its penultimate episode on Thursday night, with just two more episodes left before its finale. The sitting four artists heading into the night were Nick Harrison, Kendyle Paige, Jason Warrior and Tim Johnson Jr. Fergie was back to host, and Sean “Diddy” Combs, DJ Khaled, Meghan Trainor and Charlie Walk, in his final appearance, were back as the panel of experts.
Here’s how the show works: Potential challengers sing solos, and the four panelists have to unanimously vote in favor of the newcomer directly challenging a member of the four. If voted through by the panel, the newcomer chooses which member of the sitting four they get to sing against, and after both sing, the live studio audience votes on who gets a seat. If a newcomer unseats a member of the four, they are then safe for the rest of the evening. The winning artist, who will be crowned next week, gets a record contract and the title of iHeartRadio’s On the Verge artists.
Thursday night’s episode shook things up ahead of the finale by bringing back previous members of The Four: Ash Minor, Candice Boyd, Saeed Renaud and Zhavia. The comeback artists were determined by fans on Twitter, but the panel had the ultimate say tonight as to which of the returning artists would get to directly challenge a member of the sitting four. First, the sitting four got things started with a performance of “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas. Fergie surprised by singing a verse.
The first challenger of the night was Vincint Cannady, who came to The Four with a lot of experience, determined to challenge Warrior if given the chance. His performance of “Magic” by Coldplay indeed got him that chance. “Your voice is so impressive,” Trainor said. Cannady chose to sing against Warrior, the member of the current four who has been sitting the longest.
Warrior sang “Ordinary People” by John Legend, and it was a solid song choice, playing to his vocal strengths and shaking up the melody enough to make it his own. For his second performance of the night, Cannady sang “Sittin’ Up In My Room” by Brandy. It was a fun song choice, and Cannady worked the crowd well. “You have a beautiful voice,” Diddy said, but he added that Warrior has fought for his seat.
Ultimately, it was in the audience’s hands. The fans voted for Cannady to unseat Warrior, a decision that shocked Trainor. Warrior’s departure was a little drawn out as he singled out Trainor by saying that she sometimes says hurtful things. “I don’t want to work with that,” Trainor said after, put off by the interaction.
Evvie McKinney, who explained that she comes from a musical family, was up next, singing “Rise Up” by Andra Day and dedicating the performance to her late father. Her voice packed a punch right away, her runs crisp and her breath control tight. It was a powerful performance, and it earned her a chance to challenge the four. “You gave me range, you gave me color, you gave me complexity, and you gave your family and your father victory,” Diddy said. McKinney chose to challenge Paige, who unseated panel favorite Zhavia last week.
In hopes of staying, Paige fittingly sang “Stay” by Alessia Cara. She put a lot of power behind the vocals and gave it her all, but there were times when she was over-singing. She showcased her interesting tone, but it wasn’t her best performance. McKinney sang “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)” by Aretha Franklin for her challenge song, and it was an ambitious song choice, but it paid off. McKinney sounded strong without over-singing. The panel was certainly feeling it, and Trainor and Diddy even got to their feet. The fans agreed and voted McKinney through to the finale. Paige went home.
Next up, the returning former members of the four sang against each other for chances to sing against the current four. First, Renaud and Boyd sang against each other. Renaud got things started with a performance of “All My Life” by K-Ci and JoJo. His smooth voice and gorgeous voice came through, but it just didn’t feel like the energy of his performance matched the very high stakes of the situation. Boyd, on the other hand, brought the fire with her performance of “Love” by Keyshia Cole. “The key changes in that song were so difficult, and you nailed every single one,” Trainor said.
Boyd surprised by opting to sing against Harrison after he made a comment that artists shouldn’t have been given a second chance. Harrison gave a performance of “All The Way Up” by Fat Joe, putting his own twists on the lyrics to show off his songwriting abilities. For her second performance, Boyd sang “Ex-Factor” by Lauryn Hill. It was an effortlessly impressive performance, Boyd showcasing her artistry and killer range. “I’m very impressed,” Diddy said. Trainor said she wished Harrison had sang, and he said he would if he were to make it into the finale. The fans voted for Boyd to go to the finale, so Harrison won’t be getting that chance to sing.
Minor and Zhavia faced off next, starting with Minor performing a very original cover of “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars and accompanying himself on the guitar. He gave the song an alt-rock edge, and it worked. It was dark and alluring. Zhavia followed with her own version of “Bodak Yellow” by Cardi B, singing an original melody instead of rapping the hit. It was a bold choice, but it set her apart. She did rap a bit, which was just okay, but her voice sounded really strong during the sung parts. “You stepped up,” Diddy said. The panel chose Zhavia to challenge, which didn’t come as a surprise.
The only remaining member of the four who could be challenged was Johnson. He sang “Earned It” by The Weeknd and made it his own. Johnson’s voice has a very different tone and sound, and he brought something a little unexpected to the melody. It was a standout performance. For Zhavia’s second performance, she sang “Say Something” by A Great Big World, which was a good song choice, allowing her to really focus on the technical aspects of her voice. Fans voted for Zhavia to advance to the finale.
Next week, The Four comes to a close. Who do you think the winner should be?
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