Tonight’s episode of The Four proved not just anyone can win a coveted seat. Between some intense battles and an intriguing announcement we have a lot to unpack this week, so let’s get right to it!
This episode’s starting Four were Jesse Kramer, James Graham, Whitney Reign, and Sharaya J. They kicked off the night with a group number of “Believer” by Imagine Dragons, a song that showed off their contrasting musical styles quite nicely. But they had to face some stiff competition in order to retain their seats for another week.
Ebon delivered a sweet rendition of Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph”. He definitely showed some potential as a singer, but seemed to lack the passion we’re used to seeing from contestants on this show. There is always such an emphasis on competitors being “hungry” for a seat on this show, but I didn’t get that from Evan in this performance. Diddy and Kahled had similar reservations, but they, along with Meghan, ultimately chose to send him to the battle round.
Ebon chose to compete against Jesse, who sang “You Are So Beautiful”. It was a more toned-down performance compared to what we saw from him last week, but the passion and rock-n-roll grit were still evident. Ebon countered with the song “Mine”. It was an improvement over his first performance, but it still lacked the fire most challengers on The Four bring to the table. The judges praised both singers, but the audience selected Jesse as the winner of this first battle of the night.
The self-proclaimed cousin of Prince tackled “Love” for his artist performance. Despite the choice of a more low-key song, he was able to be quite dynamic on stage and show off his vocal chops pretty nicely. However, the amount of tricks and vocal runs took away from the rest of the performance to a degree. The judges didn’t think he would be able to beat any of the Four, so they sent him home instead of allowing him to partake in a battle.
Matt took on “How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston. He had an R&B take on the song in contrast with the original pop version. Meghan and Kahled were both quite impressed, but Diddy took issue with Matt’s falsetto despite otherwise enjoying the performance. All three gave him the chance to battle, and Matt selected Whitney as his opponent.
Whitney switched her song for this week just before the show, singing “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman”. There was a lot of fierceness and “bite” to her performance and she did a great job connecting with the audience. Matt chose “Tennessee Whiskey” as his battle song. It was nice, but clearly not as powerful. The judges and audience agreed – Whitney came out on top this round!
This 17-year-old rapper came out with a rendition of “Hate It Or Love It” and she did NOT hold back. I’ve noticed a lot of the younger contestants so far express some hesitance when performing, but certainly not Lil Bri! The judges all voted to send her forward, and she naturally chose to challenge fellow female rap artist Sharaya.
Sharaya kicked the duel off with a sassy and fun performance of “Stir Fry” and was given a standing ovation by the judges and fellow members of the Four. But Lil Bri remained stoic and countered with “Curhs On You” showing the strength of a true competitor. The judges gave high praise to both “queens” as coined by Kahled. In the end, Sharaya J became the third incumbent of the night to successfully defend her seat, but the love and respect between the two artists was clear. Regardless of the outcome, I think the real winner of this battle was the audience for getting to witness such a tight rap battle between these two talented ladies!
After Stephanie was eliminated last week, I missed the Latin music presence on the show. Luckily, this week we had Christian to fill that void! He sang “Bailando”, showing a strong ability to connect with the audience and just have fun with it. The judges gave him three yeses, meaning it was challenge time once again!
James was the only one of the Four without a locked seat, so he was automatically put in the battle. He gave a soulful performance of “Lately”, and Christian followed it with a bilingual version of “Hold On, We’re Going Home”. Both guys delivered some of the most impressive vocals of the night, and I feel like it could have gone either way, but the studio audience chose James as their champion. With James defending his spot, this marked the first time all of the Four from the start of the episode were challenged and retained their seats.
Before the episode ended, Fergie also announced we have a Comeback episode on the horizon! Fans are able to tweet to bring their favorite eliminated singers back by hashtagging a former contestant’s name along with #TheFourComeback.