The Four: Battle for a Superstar Week 3 airs tonight on FOX. Musician, record producer and songwriter Sean “Diddy” Combs, record-producing hitmaker DJ Khaled, Recording artist and songwriter Meghan Trainor and record label executive Charlie Walk will sit on the show’s “panel of experts.” Pop star Fergie has been tapped to serve as host.
Four artists, spanning all music genres, will fight each week to defend their coveted seats on the show, as determined newcomers challenge them and try to knock them out of the competition. The singer who is the last standing at the end of the competition will earn the ultimate prize: the panel of industry experts becomes key players on the winner’s team, along with a record contract and a lucrative spot as one of iHeartRadio’s On the Verge artists.
After last week’s elimination of Alexis “Lex Lu” Boyd, Ash Minor and Saeed Renauo.. The four reigning artists this week are Zhavia, Candace Boyd, Cheyenne Elliott and Jason Warrior.
Tonight’s GROUP NUMBER features THE FOUR singing “Bang Bang” by Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj. There’s a lot a hootin’ and hollerin’.
Zhavia is the only second week contestant remaining. And Diddy is all for her sticking around. After reminding the audience how BRUTALLY BRUTALLY HONEST he is, Diddy says Zhavia is the one he could imagine working with.
Rell Jervs – Pools – Rap and Hip/Hop artist, was exposed to the genre at age 14. He had a mentor who was killed in an “altercation.” He has two young kids for whom he wants to provide. He’s a little nervous about challenging a singer, but he’s ready to EAT EAT EAT. Ugh. That stupid Diddy catch phrase. Speaking of- Diddy seems to be enjoying it. Rell seems to br a decent rapper. But isn’t a rapper judged by his/her original rhymes? Meghan wants him to loosen up, but she thinks it was “sick.” Charlie says, “You did you!” Diddy says that 30 seconds into the performance, Rell found himself. Will Rell receive 4 blue rings? YES. But we’ll have to wait until AFTER THE BREAK to find out who Rell challenges. Rell Challenges Cheyenne! Because she took out the rapper last week. REVENGE.
Whoa. Fergie asks Cheyenne what she thinks about the internet thinking she only got the spot because of her grandmother Dionne Warwick. She’s willing to work as hard as anyone else, she insists.
Cheyenne Elliott – Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus – She has a big dramatic voice, but she sings without much finesse or individual style. She ends on big yelly note. MAYYYYYYYYY!
Rell Jervs – I Own It – Will this audience vote for a rapper over a big old fashioned singer? His delivery is solid and he’s got swag.
“You’ve got the bloodline of an Icon,” DJ says to Cheynne. He liked both performances. Meghan wanted to see “a little more” from Cheyenne. “You really excited me,” says Diddy to Rell. He calls Cheyenne a “future icon.”
And the winner of the challenge is Rell Jervs! Cheyenne is eliminated. Well. THAT was a short run. Rell locks in purple. He is safe for the rest of the night.
Sean Cavelier – 18 – Stitches by Shawn Mendes – He was signed to a boy band called New District and acquired a ton of social network followers. His reign as a boy bander ended “abruptly” last summer. He’s a decent pop singer, but super, super generic. A dime a dozen, some say. We hear Zhavia, mid performance offering a few comments to Jason. Her comments are often edited in. I still say she’s the chosen one. Meghan wishes Sean hadn’t done a Shawn Mendes song. She felt he didn’t really do his own thing. Charlie brought that song to No. 1. He wants to know if he writes? Not really. Sean is doomed. DJ doesn’t believe he’s better than The Four. I FEEL A NO COMING ON. Welp. Two Yeses and Two Nos. Charlie and DJ were the nays. Sean was a decent singer, but lacked a distinct style. – Eliminated.
Jefferson Clay – 23 – Austin TX – Better Man by James Morrison – He’s a full time singer/songwriter. His grandmother is his biggest supporter. She’s outlived a terminal cancer diagnosis. She’s a superhero! He does his White Boy With Guitar thing with verve and confidence, if not a ton of originality. Diddy calls the performance “Beautiful.” Meghan says, “You came out here like it was home…I had a really fun time. I enjoyed every part and I believe you.” It’s FOUR YESES. Jefferson challenges. DJ grabs his prop kid to give Jefferson an over the top lecture about MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE. This show is so weird. But before Jefferson chooses, Meghan warns him against picking Zhavia. Jefferson calls her the “darling of the show.” Diddy says, “do whatever you want.” Is it because she’s afraid he’ll lose or because he’ll win? Or is this just a bunch of contrived judges theatrics? (I’m going for the latter.) We find out after the break. Jefferson Challenges Jason He thanks Jason for keeping his seat warm for him.
Jason Warrior – Love on the Brain by Rihanna – Jason does his riffy gospel thing. Lots of guttural shouts and plentiful adlibs. He performs every song like Jason Brown waiting for his cape. Can this dude even do subtle? Meghan and DJ give him the standing O at the end of his performance.
Jefferson Clay – Ignition (Remix) by R. Kelly – “YOU READY FOR THAT YOU READY FOR THAT DJ screams in Jefferson’s face before he takes the stage to flip an R. Kelly song like he was Jason Mraz. “You cannot deny that voice,” says Jefferson to Jason afterward. But it’s all about the artist he says. Oh good god. “AN ARTIST IS SOMEONE WHO WAS BORN WITH THE GIFT.” Jason spits back, noting his hardscrabble urban background. “I GRIND he says.” Oh man. THIS FAKE TRASH TALK IS REALLY SOMETHING.
Diddy thinks Jefferson is “playing around” too much. Diddy suggests Jason incorporate some finesse into his performance. Good advice. DJ suggests the two shake hands. And Jason Wins the Challenge Jefferson is eliminated.
Oh. Fergie is asking fans to tweet an artist they’d like to receive a “come back.” Probably Lex Lu.
Nicole Boggs – Like I’m Going to Lose You by Meghan Trainor – Nashville TN – Her dad was a musician and gave it all up to raise her after mom took off. She’s got a nice soulful voice, but seems woefully out of place on this show. She’s older than the typical contestant. I’m not sure her old fashioned style will get her very far. Megan calls the cover of her song “amazing” and notes the chorus is really hard to sing. “I don’t know,” says Diddy unsurprisingly. And unhelpfully, because he doesn’t elaborate. “I think she got a glow,” says DJ. Four Yeses! Nicole Challenges Zhavia. And nobody objects, because she’s cannon fodder.
Zhavia – Killing Me Softly by Roberta Flack – This is her third week on The Four. She’s the reigning queen! Diddy calls her “fearless” Ooops. She lost her voice. OK THIS IS REALLY WEIRD. She sounds terrible. Her phrasing is off. She’s making noises like a sick animal. I’m sure the panel will slather her with compliments in any case. I do believe she’s the chosen one. She improves in her upper register later in the performance. But man. That was ROUGH. Diddy salutes her. Ha. Why even bother to bring Nicole on.
Nicole Boggs – Praying by Kesha – It’s a very emotional performance from Nicole. She hits those big notes cleanly. She’s got a few odd enunciation things I find distracting. But really. Has she tried The Voice? She’d do better on that show. The panel does stand for her, which is nice.
Zhavia is crying as she tells her mama she loves her. Nicole is crying too. It’s a cry-off. Charlie compliments Nicole’s performance “We all got goosebumps.” Meghan says Zhavia pulled off the performance despite being sick. DJ reminds the audience that they have to go back to the studio to work with the winning artist. He stops short of saying VOTE ZHAVIA. But Diddy cuts to the chase. Zhavia is an artist. Diddy wants to “rock” with her. And of course the winner is Zhavia, Nicole is eliminated. Zhavia moves to her fourth week on The Four.
Tim Johnson Jr. – 18 – Let’s Stay Together by Al Green – His dad was in a gospel group. Music is in his blood! He auditioned for Lion King on Broadway. He got the part. His entire family moved to the NYC for the sake of his career. Tim is a charming child. He reminds me a little of the comedian Chris Rock. But really, he’s a little Michael Jackson wannabe. I don’t like this song choice for Tim. He’s too young to really get the lyrics. He’s a good performer, but his vocal is nasally. Meghan questions whether he’s really 18. She’s impressed. Charlie calls him the ultimate performer. Diddy wasn’t sure about his song choice initially, but thought he did a good job over all. Eventually he gets 4 yeses, but we don’t find out until after the break. Where is the tension? There’s fifteen minutes left. There isn’t time for another challenger. Tim will Challenge Candice. She’s the only remaining singer available.
Candice Boyd – Here by Alessia Cara – Well, she came out of the gate swinging. She’s not playing, She has stage presence AND a good voice. Her talent isn’t distinct, but her poise and ability can’t be denied. She hits a whistle note just for good measure.
Tim Johnson Jr. – All I Want by Kodaline – He goes all Michael Jackson with a tender ballad. Smart, contemporary song choice. It’s more suitable to his vocal talents than Al Green. At 18, though, he’s still imitating other singers. DJ prefers Candace, while Meghan prefers Tim. She calls him “magical.”
The winner of the challenge is…Tim. Candice is eliminated. I would have given the win to Candice. Tim’s still too green. When the winner is announced, Tim cries with happiness. Candice keeps it real “I feel like I got robbed a little bit.” She believes her vocals were stronger. She wouldn’t be wrong.
The Four members Cheyenne Elliott and Candace Boyd are eliminated. Zhavia advances to her FOURTH week on the show. Jason Warrior heads to his third. Challengers Rell Jervs and Tim Johnson Jr. round out the NEW The Four.
Man. The Four continues to be SO CHEESY. The over the top theatrics and Roman coliseum conceits feel so contrived. I do like that the competition highlights young contemporary R&B and hip hop artists, the talent is really not better than what’s featured on The Voice.