After a week off, The Four is back for the second half of Season 2. Let’s see who kept their seats and if any of this week’s challengers were able to claim one of their own.
The show started by showing us a flashback to earlier in the week when this episode’s incumbent Four – Jesse Kramer, James Graham, Ali Caldwell, and Sharaya J – went to meet up with last season’s champions, Evvie McKinney. All of them were very impressed by the opportunities she’s had and worked toward since winning The Four, and I could see the fire in their eyes as their inspiration motivated them even further going into this week’s performances.
Dylan is a 16-year-old hip-hop artist who chose “Flava In Your Ear” for his artist performance. His enthusiasm was infectious and he definitely wowed the crowd! At one point during his performance, Dylan headed right up to Sharaya’s seat, so when the judges voted to let him battle, of course he chose her as his opponent.
Sharaya was up first with Missy Elliot’s “She’s A Bitch”. Her rap game was on point, as always, and I think this was one of her most energetic performances yet, complete with some sweet dance moves to finish it off.
Dylan countered with a fierce performance of an original song called “Dat Cheese”. He certainly brought fire and passion to the stage, but I didn’t get the same jolt of excitement that I did during Sharaya’s time on stage. The judges expressed a similar sentiment, with Diddy telling Dylan “She came to eat, and you became dinner”. The studio audience seemed to agree with this; their votes crowned Sharaya as the winner of the battle, locking her seat for the night.
Jade played Nala in The Lion King on Broadway as a kid, but nowadays she has her sights set on the recording studio. While singing “Grenade” by Bruno Mars, it was clear she was no stranger to the stage, gesturing with her arms and engaging with the audience throughout the performance. I did find the shakiness of her voice a tad distracting at times, though her lower register kind of made up for it. The judges declined to let her challenge an incumbent, and while I agree with that decision I thought their comments were pretty hard on her for what she did. At the end of the day it was a solid performance, it just didn’t quite measure up to the level of any of the current Four.
Ronnie Smith Jr.
Ronnie the 6′5 tall funeral home worker performed “U Don’t Have To Call” by Usher. His voice was great, but what sent the whole thing over the edge for me – in a good way! – was his confidence that shone through and made him so much fun to watch. The judges all voted for Ronnie to battle and he chose the person he saw as “the beast”…James!
Starting off this challenge was James, performing “On Bended Knee”. In his package he expressed nerves about doing the song due to not “connecting” with it as well as the ones he’d sang in previous weeks, but his interpretation of the Boys II Men hit and just as much heart and soul as ever.
Ronnie was up next with “Let Me Love You” by Mario. I really loved the smooth, cool feel of the performance, but after experiencing James leaving his heart on the stage I can see why this may have fallen a little flat with the audience in comparison.
This Oklahoman singer performed a ballad arrangement of “The Middle” by Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey for his artist performance. It was simple but effective; an excellent showcase of his vocal chops and was it just me, or was there a hint of rock-n-roll potential there? Funny since he ended up choosing Jesse as his battle opponent!
Jesse started the battle with “Nothing Compares 2 U”. By a vocal standpoint, I think this might have been my favorite showing of his. I liked that we got a more relaxed performance from Jesse this week, especially in contrast to the majority of the others we’d seen in this episode.
Noah followed that up with “Who You Are” and his style also stood out from the others this episode. He started off mellow, but allowed it to build into a crescendo that made for a beautiful ending to the piece (not that the rest of it wasn’t also great!). Even though Diddy didn’t really seem to be feeling either of these guys tonight, the audience had to pick one, and they chose Noah!
We may have just lost our resident rock-n-roller, but Kateri came out to remind us there’s no lack of musical diversity on The Four. Gospel is her genre, and she certainly came out to represent! Kateri has one of the most clear and melodic voices I’ve heard on this show, which she showed off in her performance of “I’m Getting Ready”. The judges – with a little encouragement from Ali – all voted for her to move on to the challenge round.
Ali Caldwell kicked off this final round with “Somebody Loves You Baby (You Know Who It Is)”. There was theme of sorts in this episode of finding that all-important balance between showing how “hungry” you were for a seat and not going overboard with the theatrics, and I think Ali was the best example of having that passion and motivation on display without overdoing it. And, of course, her vocals were fantastic as always; the song choice allowed her to show both the smooth and gritty elements of her voice.
Kateri’s battle number was “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion. I think the song was a great fit for her voice, and her vocal tone was just as beautiful as her first performance. The judges were torn on this battle, but the audience made their decision, and they chose Ali Caldwell as their winner!
The show ended with the titular Four consisting of Noah Barlass, James Graham, Ali Caldwell, and Sharaya J. Next week’s episode will be the last of the auditions, with Episode 7 being Comeback Week and Episode 8 as the season finale.
And remember, you can still vote for any former seat-holder or challenger from Season 2 to return by using the hashtag #TheFourComeback along with hashtagging the first name of the artist you want to return (for example, #LilBri).