The battleground is the same but the players have changed. The talent pool has elevated its reach to a global span largely in part due to the now familiar format of the competition show, which is just hours away from its second season premiere. It will feature four brand new occupants of the coveted seats chosen by the esteemed panel of judges in Sean “Diddy” Combs, Meghan Trainor and DJ Khaled. Alongside the judges returns the energetic and talented Fergie, who discussed both her comfort and gratitude in her role as the The Four’s host and its importance to the contestants.
“I’m up there kind of like a mommy in a way. I’m up there if anyone needs a hug and sometimes I’m the one that needs a hug…,” said Fergie in a recent roundtable interview.
Unlike the judges, Fergie has the opportunity to meet some of the contestants beforehand by sitting-in on rehearsals which allows for her to develop a level of investment into the artists.
“So I get excited. I get a little invested. So sometimes when you see those tears up there, it’s really because I’ve seen a peak of them rehearsing and I know they are putting everything into this,” said Fergie.
Diddy also emphasized the importance of Fergie’s role on The Four by noting the effect she has on the energy of the audience each night.
“One thing I want to say about Fergie is that she isn’t the “host.” She’s actually the ringmaster. She’s in control of the energy. And it’s also not like she’s not someone who can’t whisper or gives advice and hasn’t been in that position.”
The newest members of the four include Stephanie Zelaya, Sharaya J, James Graham and Carvena. This new talent stretches from Guatemala to the United Kingdom, featuring Latin Pop in Zelaya, R&B/Soul and Hip-Hop/Rap from Sharaya J.
In discussing differences from last season to this season, Diddy referred to the first season as a warm up or experiment that has elevated to a new level of competition and entertainment. The crowded lane of similar programs alike The Voice, added difficulty to the show’s potential success last season. He also mentions the time element in having artists build fan bases as another challenge. According to Diddy however, this new season focuses on making sure the time is taken to let artists’ stories and fan bases build in adding two additional episodes to the new season.
Last season’s winner, Evvie McKinney won in a shocking upset when she eliminated fan-favorite Zhavia in an intense battle at the finale.
“Why did we and the crowd choose Evvie? For me personally it was, I want to work with someone who if they don’t make it off the first album, second album, first single, second single, that they’re going to be in there fighting,” said Diddy.
Fergie continued the praise for McKinney and expressed how her electrifying performance of Tina Turner’s Proud Mary performance touched her beyond the surface.
“I would never want to go up against her in a battle on The Four, ever,” said Fergie.
The controversial and permanent removal of former judge Charlie Walk last season amid a series of alleged sexual harassment claims was also discussed in brief. The chemistry between the three judges (Combs, Trainor and Khaled) has truly developed and transitioned into a great space, according to Diddy. Therefore, this season the judges chose to empower the audience as the fourth judge and revert the focus rightfully back to the artists and their performances. The new application, available on the Apple App Store, also supports this notion by enabling individuals to upload audition videos and gives fans the ability to comment and affect the overall decision-making process of the show.
Listen below for the full interview and watch The Four tonight on FOX at 8/7c!