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Four Biased Judges

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Fox’s new competitive singing show, The Four: Battle for Stardom, aired its first episode on January 4, 2018. Potential candidates apply online and are chosen to perform for the show. Once chosen, the singers, also known as the “challengers” are presented in front of the panel of judges. The panel consists of DJ Khaled, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Meghan Trainor, and Charlie Walk, alongside the host Fergie. However, Walk will not be judging the season finale episode due to allegations of sexual misconduct. Before it aired on television, the judges searched the earth for the best four contestants to start the show. The original members were Lex Lu (32), Ash Minor (23), Elanese Lansen (22), and Blair Perkins (25).

The challenger performs a song for the judges and the crowd. A challenge occurs when the challenger receives four blue rings on the stage. The contestant cannot advance with a single red ring. The judges give the artist feedback on their performance. Then the artist can choose who to challenge.

The chosen member of the four performs their song, then the challenger performs their second song. The crowd votes on the best performance and the winner takes their seat on the four. The goal for each contestant is to land a seat on the four hoping to be signed with Republic Records.

Personally, I like the concept of this show. Overall, I think the show is decent. My problem though is that the judges are very biased and sometimes they let quality talent slip away.

One contestant on the first episode, Zhavia (16), was the favorite of the judges from the beginning. Her voice is different, a bit deep and weird for my liking, but I still believe she has talent. She challenged Elanese and took her place as one of the four. I thought Elanese, with her latina vibe and angelic voice, should have won.

The judges put too much emphasis and importance on style, stage presence, and uniqueness than the actual talent itself. For example, Anthony Hall, Valentina Cytrynowicz, Kayla Ember, Stevie Brock, Cocoa Sarai, Sean Cavaliere, Edi Callier, and Josh Wyper are all amazing singers but were denied the chance to challenge one of the four.

All the judges are notorious for saying, “I don’t know if you are better than the four,” which means they will not let a challenge happen. How would the judges know if they do not allow them a challenge?

They do not want to lose their favorite artists like Zhavia in a challenge. The other singers have talent but they deny it because of their biases. If the judges want Zhavia to be the winner then they should cancel the rest of the season.

The judges’ commentary on the performances is mediocre at best. None of them can compare to Simon Cowell’s feedback. I do not think all four judges should have to agree in order for a singer to advance. The panel is not going to always agree. If a challenger receives three votes, it would be logical to allow them a challenge. Aren’t the people, the audience, supposed to be choosing a singer anyway? The judges need to stop manipulating who stays on the four.

When Zhavia lost her seat on the fourth episode to Kendyle Paige (20), Meghan Trainor cried. Trainor seemed to indicate hesitance about letting Kendyle challenge because she knew that Zhavia might lose. Kendyle sang better than Zhavia and the crowd took notice. Zhavia had been dealing with problems with her voice, but with Kendyle’s sweet demeanor and growl, there was a clear winner.

In episode five, the judges had four comeback artists perform to reclaim their seat. Ash Minor’s rendition of Bruno Mars’, “When I was your man,” was better than Zhavia’s cover of “Bodak Yellow.” But the judges picked Zhavia and she dethroned Tim Johnson Jr (18). I loved Tim’s voice, stage presence, and personality. He was #robbed.

Walk mentioned once that he is not necessarily looking for the most talented artist, but the “whole package.” This is the reason why we end up with mediocre talent in the music industry.

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