The Four: Battle for a Superstar Week 5 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 sit on the show’s “panel of experts.” Because the show was filmed last week, Charlie’s still around. But in the wake of a sexual misconduct scandal, Walk has left the show. Pop star Fergie serves as host.
Last week: The Four panel favorite Zhavia was ELIMINATED along with Rell Jerv whose run ended after only two weeks. Kendyle Paige and Nick Harrison unseated them both, respectively. Jason Warrior won his challenge to enter his fourth week (and now is the longest running The Four contestant). Tim Johnson Jr. was not challenged.
But tonight? It’s bring back week! Coming back to reclaim their seats: Ash Minor,Candice Boyd, Saeed and Zhavia.
Ha ha ha. They have literally cut Charlie out of the pre-show promo clip. The Four perform a tribute to host Fergie? They sing Black Eyed Peas “I’ve Got a Feeling.” Oh. Fergie joins them on stage to perform. How nice.
The panel of experts…not even introduced. Just a quick shot.
Vincent Cannady – “Magic” by Coldplay – HERE’S A FUN FACT EXCLUSIVE FROM US. Vincint gave up going to American Idol Hollywood Week to do The Four. His dad’s a gospel singer. He’s hoping to challenge Jason. Meghan knows Vincent. But not as a singer? The prior acquaintance doesn’t help him. She doesn’t think his voice is aggressive enough. It’s true, he has a smooth, unremarkable voice. He’s not the riff machine that Jason is. 4 yeses for Vincint. He challenges Jason Warrior.
Indeed, this episode has been re-edited to minimize Charlie’s presence. He’s seen in wide shots of the panel, but that’s pretty much it. Most commentary from the him has been edited out.
Jason Warrior – Ordinary People by John Legend – He insists that he’s more than a screamer. Hm. He promises to hit notes that John Legend can’t hit. Jason is making an attempt to dial it back–a little! He hits some magnificent notes. He’s making it hard for Vincent, for sure. Diddy is on his feet.
Vincint Cannady – Sitting Up In My Room by Brandy – Interesting song choice. But while Vincent is a perfectly nice singer, he doesn’t have that EXTRA Jason has. And on The Four, especially. EXTRA is everything.
Jason insists he took notes from the panelists without changing who he is fundamentally. Vincint felt the crowd loved him. Meghan wasn’t as excited or pumped up over Jason’s performances as she has been in the past. But she LOVED Vincint’s performance. Diddy is Team Jason. Time for the audience to vote. And the winner is Vincint Cannady. Jason Warrior is Eliminated. The band plays a funeral dirge, which is kind of hilarious.
Oh boy. Jason declares that he’s a WARRIOR and he’s NOT going away. He approaches Meghan, gets right in her face to say “sometimes you say things that are hurtful” before adding that he loves her anyway. And then he sings to her. She’s a little confused. Actually, a lot confused. Someone shouts SECURITY. And out they come. Good lord, this show is so weird. Also, that bit felt super scripted.
Evvie McKinney – Rise Up by Andra Day – Twenty year old from Memphis TN. CHARLIE TALKS. He asks her about herself. Her father was a singer too. He’s responsible for everything she is today. But sadly, he passed away. She’s getting the super duper sad backstory treatment. Evvie has a sweet tone punctuated with an appealing growl. Nice phrasing. She’s good! Here come the high notes. Impressive. Kendyle is sure Evvie is coming for her. Meghan is impressed by her “sweet falsetto.” DJ is impressed with her youth and ability to channel the legends. Diddy says “You gave your family and your father victory.” Charlie says…nothing of course. We’re pretending he’s not here. 4 yeses for Evvie. DJ blows his mini air horn. Evvie Challenges Kendyle
ETA: A commenter noted that Evvie’s brother is Gedeon McKinney, who was an American Idol season 5 semi-finalist. Gedeon’s father died in December 2005, a mere weeks before the season premiere. But in contrast to how The Four producers handled Evvie’s backstory, the recent death of Gedeon’s father was never mentioned on camera, which fans found rather curious. The singer was only 17 at the time, yet he soldiered on, even as producers totally treated him like cannon fodder. I thought he was robbed. After Idol, Gedeon went on to front a 70’s style funk band called Gedeon Luke and the People.
Kendyle Paige – Stay by Alessia Cara – She knocked out front runner Zhavia last week. Evvie is the better singer, hands down. But Kendyle is unique. Unfortunately, tonight she’s sounding super hoarse. Man she’s rough on those big notes. And she’s having pitch problems. That was not good. She just blew it.
Evvie McKinney – “I Never Met a Man” by Aretha Franklin – Evvie is killing it with the riffs and the growls. And the on key singing. Who knows how the vote will go, but based on these performances, Evvie deserves the seat. Meghan and Diddy are on their feet. Kendyle is stricken as she looks on.
Meghan felt both were fighting for their dreams. Charlie says, “A star was born tonight.” DJ fusses with a scarf, “It’s a cold world…bundle up.” Diddy thinks Kendyle’s future looks bright. But he was inspired by Evvie. “Aretha would be proud,” he says. Evvie wins the challenge. Kendyl is eliminated.
Next….it’s the Comeback Challenge.
It’s being treated like a prize fight. SOOO CHEESY. And not in a good way. Ugh. Diddy introduces the challengers. WE ARE GONNA BATTLE Diddy shouts over and over again. The four comeback kids take the stage. Hm. You voted, but the panelists decided who came back. The returnees have to challenge each other first. Candice will battle, Saeed while Zhavia will battle Ash. Then, the panel will decide who wins. This doesn’t seem rigged at all. /SARCASM.
Saeed – All My Life – Mr. Old School picks a chestnut to sing. It shows off his smooth soulful tone. But the performance never rises above pleasant.
Candice Boyd – Love by Keyshia Cole – Candice also delivers a smooth, sweet and soulful performance. I’d give her the edge here, though. She not only has the pipes, but stage presence as well. The panel is on their feet!
Meghan was impressed with Candice’s key change. But she also appreciated Saeed the vocal producer. Diddy feels Candice really stepped it up. The panel deliberates. Diddy seems to be pro Saeed while Meghan favors Candice. However Candice wins the Challenge. Saeed is once again eliminated. Nick makes a comparison to the Super Bowl. If a team loses, do they have a right to re-challenge. HE’S JUST ASKIN’. And then he repeats it after the break. Editing mistake? And with that, Candice challenges Nick. SCRIPTED. They aren’t even similar artists.
Nick Harrison – All the Way Up – He’s been writing rhymes all week. He takes being the only hip hop artist on The Four seriously. He’s “carrying hip hop on my back.” Or something. He’s a decent rapper. I guess.
Candice Boyd – Ex-Factor by Lauryn Hill – Good song choice. She’s killing it up there. I’ll be shocked if she doesn’t make the final.
Diddy is impressed Candice “smashed down” a Lauryn Hill song. Meghan wanted Nick to sing. He says “next time.” Charlie snarks, “I thought you didn’t believe in second chances?” And of course, Candice wins the challenge. Nick is eliminated. Nick should have tried to sing. He was right to look askance at the “comeback.” It puts the challenged artists in a disadvantaged position.
Now, Ash Minor and Zhavia will face off for a chance to challenge. Ash laments that he only got to sing once. Zhavia is humbled to get a second chance, but she’s here to win the whole thing.
Ash Minor – When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars – He accompanies himself on electric guitar. Meghan looks happy. “I love this cover,” she says. It’s a very soulful performance. Much more impressive than his first outing. He’s a decent guitar player.
Zhavia – Bodak Yellow by Cardi B – Well, she seems to have overcome her vocal issues. She does the rap break. This is good. And considering the panel’s bias for her, she’s probably got this.
Diddy felt Zhavia stepped up, he criticizes Ash for putting too much “stank” on the vocal. Huh? Meghan disagrees. “I love your stank and your vibrato.” She’s proud of Zhavia for stepping up, but she wishes she had picked a different song. The panel discuss! And the winner is Zhavia. Ash is eliminated. Who didn’t see that coming? Now, it’s Tim vs Zhavia.
Tim Johnson Jr. – Earned It by The Weeknd – He won a challenge two weeks ago, but sat on his hands last week. Now, he’s up against Zhavia. Good luck with that. He notes that the Weeknd is “Charlie’s artist.” Heh. Not for long. His voice is super nasally. I said this before–his stage presence is better than his vocals. However, there is something about this kid that’s real likeable. (He’s only 18).
Zhavia – Say Something by A Great Big World – Well, this is an unexpected song choice. Zhavia goes for a big emotional ballad. Uh oh. Tim is toast. Which was the plan all along. Poor little cannon fodder. The performance is simple, heartfelt and exactly what Zhavia needed to do at this point.
Charlie wanted more vocals and less “movement” from Tim. He hopes the audience got Zhavia. Meghan doesn’t think Tim should stop moving, but she LOVES Zhavia’s song choice. Diddy is torn. The audience votes! Closest vote of the night. Separated by 2%. Zhavia wins the challenge. Tim Johnson is eliminated.
The Four Moving On to Next Week’s Finale: Zhavia, Candice Boyd, Evie McKinney and Vincint Cannady.
Tonight’s eliminations were complicated! All four singers coming in this week: Kendyle Paige, Nick Harrison, Jason Warrior and Tim Johnson Jr. were eliminated.
The four comeback artists paired up for battle. The winner (determined by the panel) won the right to challenge a sitting contestant. Comeback artists, Ash Minor and Saeed were eliminated after battles against Zhavia and Candice Boyd, respectively.
Only two new challengers were introduced this week: Vincint Cannady and Evie McKinney. Both move on to next week’s final.
Jason Warrior lost a challenge by newbie Vincint Cannady, Nick Harrison lost a challenge from comeback artist Candice Boyd. Kendyle Paige lost to newbie Evie McKinney and Tim Johnson Jr. who was challenged for the first time, lost to comeback artist Zhavia.
The finale tapes on Friday (Feb 2). There’s no word of a replacement for Charlie Walk. At this late date, producers will likely go with the remaining three panelists.