Congratulation to James Graham, winner of The Four season 2. The judges–Meghan Trainor, Diddy and DJ Khaled— chose the X Factor UK alum and R&B singer after an emotional performance of Coldplay’s “Fix You.”
James faced off in the final round against rapper Sharaya J, who appeared to be on an inevitable march to the win. She was the only artist to hold on to her seat through the entire competition. James, also an original Four contestant, was unseated two weeks ago by The Four finalist Leah Jeneah. But then James clawed his way back into the competition after dispatching with newbie contestant Jeronelle McGhee in last week’s Comeback episode.
The studio audience voted Sharaya the winner of the first round, which allowed her to choose her first challenger. Meanwhile, the judges slammed James after a lackluster rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You.”
Ahead of the second round, Sharaya was the clear frontrunner. With the judges choosing the winners, the rapper easily knocked off Whitney Reign. But then James impressed the panel with a soulful and rangy performance of Adele’s “Hello.” that sent the young Leah Jeneah out of the competition. Ironically, it was Leah who defeated James only two weeks before.
The finale round between good friends James and Sharaya was pretty much a draw. Sharaya fired off one of her signature fiery diss tracks, the self penned “Say Less.” But then James came back and delivered an emotional performance of Coldplay’s “Fix You.”
Did it matter who actually “won” that last round? Ultimately, the judges are looking for an act they can market. Thirty-four year old Sharaya, once a protege of Mary J Blige had been kicking around the music business with only moderate success. However the twenty-something James is a relative newbie. He’s only just begun to develop his artistry. He’s not only ready to work, but also take direction. In the end, he will be easier to launch as a new act.
The good news for Sharaya? Her higher profile will only help her in the long run.
In any case, I’ve had mixed feelings about The Four. There are few moments that feel spontaneous. The banter coming from the judges panel can be pretty obnoxious. Too many contestants served as cannon fodder to prop up favorite contestants. Did I say much of The Four feels HIGHLY MANIPULATED? But, having said that–I think The Four NEEDS to stick around. It’s the only competition that gives hip hop and rap artists a platform. And it’s a better showcase for R&B singers overall. And in the end, The Four DID serve up some great talent and thrilling moments. The ratings have been middling, But the six to eight week season, all taped ahead, with no expensive celebrity casting or extensive casting concerns, can’t be THAT expensive for FOX to produce.
Many of you remember James Graham when he was part of the boy band, Stereo Kicks. The ill considered eight member (!!!) group put together by Simon Cowell was destined to fail. Good on James for getting a second chance! Check out his post win interview. James was STUNNED after Diddy announced him the winner.
How about a couple of polls?
Did the right act win?
Which Act Should Have Won The Four?
Most Robbed Contestant
FINALE PHOTO GALLERY