After last week’s historic episode of The Four in which all the incumbents – Jesse Kramer, James Graham, Whitney Reign, and Sharaya J – successfully defended their seats, it’s clear their confidence had gotten about a boost. I mean, they started this episode by labelling themselves “the Unbeatable Four”! But did that prove to be true by the end of this week’s show?
Thing started off with the usual opening number featuring the episode’s starting members of the Four, but viewers quickly became concerned when Timbaland came out to sing instead of fan favorite Sharaya J. Thankfully, Fergie alleviated our fears by explaining Sharaya had been given doctor’s orders to rest her voice as much as possible, but would still be able to defend her seat that night if need be.
Felix has opened for various artists like Cee Lo Green, Monica, and Babyface, but now he’s hungry for his own turn in the spotlight. His performance of “Can We Talk” had Meghan and Diddy grooving in their seats, but Kahled felt it lacked personality and felt a little inauthentic. The other judges also criticized his flashy tricks, but enjoyed his take on the song nonetheless. All three judges voted to let Felix advance to the challenge round, and he chose Jesse as his opponent.
Jesse’s song this week was “Hold On, I’m Coming”. He always brings the rock-n-roll fire to the stage, but with this particular performance I felt the most energy I have from him yet. Felix fought back with “That’s What I Like” by Bruno Mars. It was definitely a smooth rendition, but got more and more over-the-top as the performance progressed, with even more of the kind of tricks the judges chastised earlier in the show. Kahled correctly guessed Jesse had defended his seat, ensuring his place in next week’s show.
Alma chose “Ex’s & Oh’s” for her artist performance. She had great energy and her raspy voice was a great fit for the song, but her voice was pretty uneven in some sections. Diddy and Kahled enjoyed her uniqueness and voted to send her through, but Meghan turned her down. Kahled tried to change Meghan’s mind, but to no avail.
Ali is no stranger to competing on reality television – she previously competed on Season 11 of The Voice. During her performance of “Tell Me Something Good”, she confidently strutted around the stage and made an immediate impression on the judges and audience. She expertly showcased her absolute powerhouse of a voice, and there was really no doubt she’d move on to battle an incumbent.
Ali picked Whitney, who sang “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”. She brought her signature soulfulness to the performance,but it was only about about halfway through that she started really showing her passion and determination to keep her seat. Ali retaliated with “Set Fire To The Rain”. She started out quietly, like she was hiding a secret, then burst out with a powerful chorus and didn’t let up for the rest of the number.
This was a tough one to call; Whitney seemed to try to connect with the audience more than Ali, though the latter showed more confidence and “star quality”. Ultimately, Ali was victorious, and her win was still sinking in as she took her seat.
Dian, who hails from Cuba, sang “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias. Unlike some of the evening’s previous contestants, he kept it simple, just straight-up showcasing his strong voice to the judges and studio audience (though he did awkwardly take his jacket off at one point). The panel enjoyed his performance and allowed him to continue on to the challenge round.
Dian challenged James, who started the battle off with a performance of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature”. He gave us some impressive vocal runs and even threw in a couple of classic MJ moves for good measure! Dian’s challenge song choice was “Flor Pálida” by Marc Anthony. His performance was the perfect blend of sensuality, silliness, and strong singing. The judges gave both guys props, but the audience voted for James to retain his seat!
Brennan had a whole piano set-up and sang “I’m Gonne Be (500 Miles)” for his artist performance. He came out swinging right from the get-go, and did not let up. His voice was soulful, strong, and powerful. This was another case in which there was no question he’d get to do a challenge!
As often happens when we get to the end of an episode with only one option left, the challenge between Brennan and Sharaya was like apples and oranges because their styles were so different. (Though they did share one thing in common in that they both suffer from serious illnesses – Sharaya with breast cancer and Brennan with HIV and having overcome addiction).
Sharaya started it off with her signature rap style. Despite her inability to rehearse this week, she came out as if nothing was wrong and was as fierce and fun as ever with an original piece titled “Go Raya”. Brennan came out with just as much power with “Let It Go”; while his vocal tone wasn’t quite as clear as in his first performance, he soon got back on track and finished strong, belting out a mesmerizing power note.
As usual with the mismatched genre mash-ups, this was a tight battle, but the victor was ultimately Sharaya J. While I was so happy she got to keep her seat, it was sad to see Brendan go, and I’m hoping fans will vote for him to get another shot during Comeback Week!
With that, the episode ended, and Jesse Kramer, James Graham, Ali Caldwell, and Sharaya J will be the incumbent Four heading into next week!