By MARK LINDSLEY
With the American version of “X-Factor” long gone, “The Voice,” a huge hit for NBC and “American Idol” coming back next month (now on ABC), FOX didn’t want to be left out. In comes their new twist on a singing competition, “The Four.”
The judges are pop icon Meghan Trainor, rapper/ producer DJ Khaled, rapper/ producer Sean “Diddy” Combs, and the former president of Epic Records and current president of Republic Records Charlie Walk. Solo singer and Black Eyed Peas member Fergie is the host of the show, and all of these big names combine to give “The Four” what is arguably the most star-studded cast of any music competition show to date.
Before the show began, the judges selected four artists to hold four seats, but how the four artists were selected is left for the audience to speculate. Then, new singers and rappers step onto the stage one at a time to perform a song for the judges and an audience
whose selection is also left for the TV audience to question.
After their performance, the judges tell the artist what they think of them and their performance before they all vote yes or no on whether they think the person deserves a chance to challenge one of “The Four” for their seat. Occasionally, there might be one or two votes that are surprises, but nine times out of ten, the judges’ comments tell the audience how they will be voting, which takes away some of the drama.
Once the votes are cast, Fergie stands next to the artist in the middle of a circle that has four rings around it and one by one the rings turn either blue or red. If a performer earns four yeses (blue rings) they are then allowed to choose which member of “The Four” they want to challenge. Only the first challenger of the night really gets to choose exactly who they want, because after each seat is challenged, they are locked for the remainder of the night.
The member of “The Four” who is challenged then performs first before the challenger performs their second song. The judges then make comments again, which they can use to sway the audience’s opinion. The live studio audience votes right then and there to decide whether the challenger won and takes the seat, or if the member of “The Four” won and retains their seat for another week.
Either way, the winner of the challenge is now a member of “The Four” and doesn’t have to perform again for at least a week, which gives them time to prepare for their next performance and allows for the audience to see some of the other members of The Four get challenged and perform. At the end of each two hour episode, whoever is sitting in those four seats, whether they performed that night or not, is safe until the next week’s episode.
When the show first debuted a few weeks ago, their complicated rules and the potential oversaturation of the singing competition market resulted in very low ratings compared to the ratings for “The Voice.” However, the ratings have remained consistent and “That consistency suggests that viewers are enjoying what they are seeing,” according to Headline Planet.
This season of “The Four” is just a trial run, which means that the season finale is only a couple of weeks away. The final members of “The Four” will fight it out to see which one will be the winner and get to work with the judges on producing their own album. The show airs Thursday nights at 8 p.m. on Fox.