I follow a lot of playlists on Spotify including the "Philippines Viral 50," and at some point a certain artist named Zhavia, topped this chart. So, as a musician and music aficionado myself, I did my research about this artist. Apparently, she's part of the latest talent search on US TV at the moment, The Four.
The Four is a reality show with an intriguing set of mechanics. Artists are made to face a panel consisting of record producer Charlie Walk, Meghan Trainor, DJ Khaled, and P. Diddy, convincing them unanimously of their worthiness to challenge the seats of any of The Four top artists. In this regard, it feels like our local singing competition Tawag Ng Tanghalan, where a defending champion defends his throne from challengers. On The Four, however, the audience suddenly has the power to decide 'cause according to the catchphrase from its host Fergie, ‘Ultimately in the music business, the power belongs to the fans—so the audience gets to decide who claims a seat on The Four and who goes home.’
The talent search with only six episodes on its first season is suffering, though, from having a murky set of rules that seem to change by will. On episode 5, there’s suddenly a comeback round, with the final four contestants for the finale being a totally different set of artists from the week before with come-backing contenders, Candice Boyd and Zhavia, plus two fresh challengers who knocked out the seat holders, Evvie McKinney and Vincint. And during the finale, the panel suddenly has the final say on who wins it all. It’s actually a complete mess but it is also undeniable that the level of talent is across the roof. These are four of the best singers/artists I’ve ever seen on any talent competition.
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Vincint came out of nowhere, knocking out, the longest member of The Four, Jason Warrior with his smooth soul vocals and his dance moves. With renditions of Coldplay’s "Magic," Brandy’s "Sitting Up In My Room," Radiohead’s "Creep," and Bruno Mars’s "Locked Out In Heaven," he showed his unbelievable range and style. He has an amazing control in his soft high notes to his belting growl. I’m personally bummed that the panel chose Candice over him, but he is surely one to watch.
Candice Boyd may seem like your typical female R&B artist, but her velvety vocal stylings and urban vibe, kinda reminds me of Faith Evans, signed under Puff Daddy’s label from the late 90’s and who was the wife of the late Notorious B.I.G. No wonder she holds a soft spot in Diddy’s heart!
Then we have Zhavia, who I think will actually outsell this show’s winner, which most of the time really happens in these singing competitions. With a worldwide following making her a viral hit on Spotify and Youtube, and with a strong, exponentially growing Instagram following of 1.4M, she already is a star. It’s kinda ironic that she did not win given the show’s catchphrase. At just 16, her singing chops are insane. But the age also gives her the disadvantage of immaturity when it comes to her song choices and her vocal control. But this early on, you can already see how much more she would grow as an artist.
And then we have The Four’s grand champ, Evvie McKinney, who actually deserved the title, hands down. Especially, if this show was really just a singing competition. But the show was not what it made it to seem at the start. Evvie, though, performance after every performance, just got better and better showing the public that she had more tricks up her sleeve and that she’s not just one of those power belters. Her rendition of Tina Turner’s "Proud Mary," infused with some vocal stylings and performance vibes of Beyonce, showed everyone that she ain’t just your old-fashioned, old soul singer.
It’s actually surprising that they’ve already announced a season 2 for this show. I hope that they would fix their act this time and more importantly, still continue to provide a stellar roster of talent which practically saved this show from falling apart. At the end of the day, it really should be about giving these amazing artists, a platform to show the whole world, what they’ve got.
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Banner image courtesy of FOX