The premise: Yet another singing competition in a slew of singing competitions. One in which P. Diddy assures us, “This ain’t like those other shows” even though it has judges, and singers, an audience, and flashing visual stimuli JUST LIKE those other shows.
The judges: P. Diddy (I know him from when he wore foil garbageman suits with Ma$e), Khaled (I know him from commercials and probably music), Meghan Trainor (I know two of her songs), and Charlie Walk (Simon Cowel’s American understudy).
How it works: There’s four chairs up on this holier-than-thou platform. If you have a chair, you’re basically a god-like talent and P. Diddy will give you free Ciroc. As a contestant, you perform a song of your choosing in an attempt to impress the judge’s panel. If you win the approval of all four judges, you earn the right to challenge one of The Four. If you win the challenge, you get to take the chair of the person you beat and silently judge other contenders like a jerk as the newest member of The Four.
Things I liked:
- A more diverse line-up of music and contestants. They do rap, rock, hip-hop, Latin. Unlike “those other shows” Diddy mentioned, they don’t give AF what genre you do.
- Brutal honesty. Unlike The Voice, contestants are actually at-risk to get a harsh critique. It’ll be a cold day in hell before you see Adam Levine or Blake Shelton say anything even remotely close to what Charlie Walk said last night when he wasn’t vibing the performance.
- Saeed. I’ll keep watching based on this dude alone.
- The expediency. The show goes into full-on competition mode in the first fifteen minutes and trims the audition fat.
- Diddy treating The Four like they’re his own personal K-9 quartet. “Who wants to eat?!”
Things I didn’t like:
- The Four. They were selected off-camera so you just have to kinda go along with premise that they’re all so good they can outperform all comers. Not only do the judges hype them up, but they hype themselves up, thus, making them come off like cocky jerks as they sit in a club-like bottle service section above the lowly plebs watching would-be challengers peddle their vocal wares to the tune of their eye-rolls. It’s not until one of them is challenged that we get a back-story, but they’ve each been introduced as unlikable bastards, so it’s kind of like ice-skating uphill in regards to getting audience votes. In a related note: it only took two contestants before one of the mighty Four was being escorted off-stage, back to her normal life pre-P. Diddy. A life sadly lacking yachts and iPad drink coasters.
- Totality rules. Only when a contestant gets all four judge’s approval can they move forward with a challenge. Not majority; all four. So basically, one dick judge can keep a good contestant back.
- The wave format. Other shows establish a set number of contestants and then whittle down from there, almost like an NCAA tourney bracket. This show starts with four finalists and switches people out as battles are won and lost. So it almost behooves a person to be one of the final contestants so they can sneak in last-minute and not have to be in constant defense mode. Being one of the original Four or appearing as a contestant at the very beginning definitely puts the odds against you.
- Meghan Trainor. I don’t think I’m in the minority here when I say she hasn’t quite earned the right to coach or judge just yet. Gwen, Christina, J. Hud–yes. Meghan, though? Seems premature, especially when you consider the contestants were hitting notes she’s never hit herself.
- The prize. What the fuck is it? There’s no mention of a record contract or cash prize or lifetime supply of Ciroc. My understanding is that if you win all four judges will inject you with their fame juices and get you on the cover of Rolling Stone somehow. Please explain this shit. I’m lost.
Will I keep watching? Sure. But it’ll be a show where my attention is split between, Marvel Puzzle Quest, and taking Snapchats of my dogs..