The Battle for Stardom is here, and ... IT'S ON. The premiere of The Four: Battle for Stardom has arrived and some very talented contestants are beginning their journey to taking their music career to the next level.
Hosted by Fergie, the the series’ panel of judges DJ Khaled, Puff Daddy, Meghan Trainor, and Charlie Walk saw four performers, Blair Perkins, Ash Minor, Lex Lu, and Elanese Lansen, defend their spots on stage as they were challenged individually by new singers determined to replace them. Some of these original Four contestants kept their seats, and some were booted out by their challengers. So, what went down during the kick-off of this new singing competition? Find out below.
Kicking off the show, the audience got to meet Lex Lu, Blair, Elanese, and Ash as they all came out to showcase their talent singing a cover of Justin Timberlake's "CAN'T STOP THE FEELING!" together. Then, after taking their seats (which they are trying to defend), Fergie told them, "Don't get too comfortable, because you will have to fight to stay in them."
Enter, the first challenger: 24-year-old Tyler Griffin (AKA TyAlexandar) from North Bergen, New Jersey. Tyler performed Jason Derulo's "Talk Dirty," and afterwards the verdict was out. While he made Diddy smile and impressed DJ Khaled with the crowd's loud cheering, Charlie Walk said, "You were good, but they're [The Four] great." Unfortunately, Tyler did not get enough votes from the judges to take on The Four. Diddy told him, "Better luck next time."
Next up: 16-year-old Zhavia from Los Angeles, California. She told the judges, "I'm here to get a chair," before singing Khalid's "Location," showing of her deep vocal range and unique voice. DJ Khaled loved it. He told her, "This is why I'm here" and that she looks and sounds like a young icon. Charlie was also impressed and said "I feel like I'm listening to the future here tonight." Meghan told The Four, "I love you guys, but you should be absolutely terrified right now." Meanwhile, Diddy didn't seem as "Team Zhavia" as the rest of the panel, but in the end, the teen got the green light from the judges to challenge The Four -- the first one of the show. DJ Khaled got up out of his seat to personally give Zhavia a high five.
Zhavia then chose Elanese to challenge saying, "she looks a little scared to challenge me." First, Elanese took the stage and paid tribute to her Latin roots by performing a spicy cover of Luis Fonsi & Demi Lovato's "Échame La Culpa." Zhavia was up next performing a cover of French Montana's "Unforgettable."
So, who was the winner of this challenge? The audience voted, chose Zhavia, and Elanese gave up her seat. Zhavia is now officially a part of The Four.
The next potential challenger then took the stage: 28-year-old singer/songwriter Anthony Hall from Delray Beach, Florida. He actually once had a record deal, but nothing had come of it. Anthony performed a bluesy cover of Portugal. The Man's smash hit "Feel It Still." Meghan proclaimed that that was her favorite song at the moment, and that she loved Hall's cover, while Diddy said, "I need to see the artist in you." But, the official verdict? Two yes's and two no's, and so Anthony went home.
Then, Dallas, Texas based rapper/singer/producer Illakriss took the stage to bust out some rap skills on a remake of Earth Wind & Fire's "Let's Groove." Meghan loved his stage presence, but DJ Khaled didn't seem to be too impressed. Meanwhile, Charlie said that his performance was interesting, but "not what this show is." However, Diddy disagreed and said that there are "a lot of older people in the industry not knowing what good hip hop is." Ultimately, Illakriss got the go-ahead from the judges to challenge one of The Four, and he chose to take on Lex Lu.
Up first was Lex, and she performed a special remixed version DJ Khaled's "Wild Thoughts" (which features Rihanna). Lex showed off her incredible bar-spitting abilities as her 11-year-old son and mother watched on from the audience. Then, Illakriss took the stage to furiously rap G. Dep's "Special Delivery."
Afterwards, DJ Khaled said that he liked Illakriss's performance more than Lex's, even though he loved Lex's song choice. He told her, "In fact, that was the smartest thing you ever did in your life." However, Diddy's opinion was, "I don't think you [Illakriss] did enough to take her [Lex] out of her seat," but he actually wasn't happy with either performance.
In the end, it was up the audience, and they were Team Lex Lu, and so the Femme-C was safe, keeping her seat.
From there, things only heated up more, because 19-year-old Valentina Cytrynowicz from Los Angeles appeared on stage to perform Lorde's "Green Light." Charlie immediately loved Valentina's performance, talked about working with Lorde, and told her "I saw a real artist on this stage." However, the rest of the panel did not agree. While Meghan called it a "beautiful performance," she wasn't a fan. Diddy straight up told her, "I didn't like it one bit," later adding, "It just wasn't a great performance," which received a unanimous "boo" from the entire audience. DJ Khaled asked The Four newcomer Zhavia what she thought, to which the teen replied if Valentina was going to sing someone else's song, she had to sing it better and with her own style. After receiving to yes's and two no's from the judges, Valentina went home.
Next, Brooklyn-based songwriter/producer/vocal coach Saeed Renaud (who has actually won a Grammy for songwriting) appeared on stage to perform Whitney Houston's "Run To You." Meghan loved his performance so much that she was crying at the end, while DJ Khaled said, "This is what I call 'securing the bag.'" Charlie proclaimed, "I'll tell you this, there is a place for you in the music business for sure," and Diddy confidently said, "Thank you for setting the bar. I want to see a challenge." And with that, Saeed became the next official challenger, choosing to take on Blair.
Blair was up first, and performed Sam Smith's "Stay With Me," with Saeed following right behind him singing a cover of John Newman's "Love Me Again." Both performances were well-received by the audience and the judges (mostly), but it was Saeed that the crowd voted to take Blair's seat.
Here are your final Four of the night who will take their talents to next week's episode: Lex Lu, Ash Minor (the only person not challenged this time), Zhavia, and Saeed Renaud.
What an intense first episode! And the stakes are extremely high. Not only will the winner's career launch with the help of the judges, they will also become iHeartRadio's "On the Verge" artist; an artist development program supporting the winner with airplay across iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide. This program has helped launched the careers of artists like Sam Smith, Fifth Harmony and Nick Jonas, among others.
Who's the next super star?! Stay tuned to The Four: Battle for Stardom every Thursday at 8/7c on FOX.
Photos: 21st Century Fox