On paper, Fox's new music competition event series The Four seems, well, complicated.
When the show premieres on Thursday, Jan. 4, the producers will have already narrowed down their titular four finalists, the cream of the crop. From that point, those four vocalists will be tasked with the challenge of defending their seats against a barrage of viewers like you at home who sit back and think, "I can sing better than that." Filming in real time, those challengers will be brought into the Colosseum to put their money where their tweets mouths are. Battles will ensure, favorites will fall, and a new approach to an aged genre of reality TV will rise. Or so the illustrious panel of judges and host Fox has gathered from the music industry hopes.
But will fans of the music competition genre connect with The Four? Or even understand it? Producer and panelist Sean "Diddy" Combs sure hopes so.
Brian Bowen Smith/FOX
"Because there's always a dream and that's what drove me to be a part of this show. There's always a dream. I did it back in the days with Making the Band," he told journalists during the show's panel at the Fox day for the 2018 Winter TCA Press Tour when asked what drove him to the show. "This show is different. In the drop of a second, you could just lose your seat. The other shows don't really have that personal combative nature…Another thing this show doesn't have, as far as from a business standpoint, that they really focused on was what happens the day after you win. Fox has done a great job making sure that they day after you win, you're in the right hands to move forward."
That's right--when the show's six weeks are up and a winner is announced, that lucky individual will have their new career put into the hands of Diddy and his fellow panelists, Meghan Trainor, DJ Khaled and Republic Records president Charlie Walk, with that group of music royalty tasked with making sure the winner becomes a star. And with the backing of iHeartRadio, who will spotlight the winner after they're crowned, that's certainly more than The Four's competitors are offering.
Addressing concern that viewers have gotten music competition fatigue over the years, the talent admitted that they're not too worried. "As long as there's music, this genre can continue to grow," Diddy said. "We're coming with a rambunctious, captivating…energy."
"You can't put a cap on success in talent. There's new talent that's coming out every day," DJ Khaled added. "This is music we're talking about. Music's forever. it's forever."
"The biggest thing I think is that you start off with these four and they have something to lose. They already have that seat," host Fergie said, pointing to why The Four stands out. "They're the best of the best and they have to defend that seat…The stakes make it that much higher.
With each week delivering a mix of The Voice's battle rounds and American Idol's nerve-wracking fan voting process, along with some borrowed elements from the other music competitions that have come and gone, The Four sounds both like something of a Frankenstein series and something wholly original. But for Diddy, it's pretty easy.
"It's kind of simple. It's like Game of Thrones," he said. "You get the challenge and if you want to chop somebody's head off to get the seat…"
Get ready, aspiring superstars, because winter, it seems, is here.
The Four premieres tonight at 8 p.m. on Fox.