It's been an intense competition over the last six weeks on The Four: Battle for Stardom, to say the least. But, at long last, we finally have our winner -- the next big star who will be signed and also become iHeartRadio's new On The Verge artist!
Drum roll please ... it's EVVIE! Evvie McKinney has been crowned winner of the first season of The Four: Battle for Stardom.
Let's back up. How did we get here? Evvie, who is 20 years old from Memphis, Tennessee, competed for the first time just last week. She captured the audience's hearts after sharing a touching story about her father, who was a gospel singer, and who had passed away -- but more importantly with her undeniable talent. She stunned with a beautiful rendition of Andra Day's "Rise Up," then challenged Kendyle with a powerful performance of Aretha Franklin's "I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You," eventually claiming her seat on The Four.
Other highlights from last week include newcomer Vincint Cannady, from Philadelphia, who took Jason Warrior's seat on The Four, and the battle of The Four Members past; Zhavia, Candice Boyd, Ash Minor, and Saeed Renaud all came back on the show to face off against each other in two epic battles, ultimately ending in Zhavia and Candice taking back their seats, sending Tim Johnson Jr. and rapper Nick Harrison home.
OK, now that we're all caught up. Here's what went down on the season one finale of The Four: Battle for Stardom...
The show kicked off with a performance of Lady Gaga's "The Edge of Glory" from Zhavia, Candice, Vincent, and Evvie. Very fitting. Because then it was time for battle, as all four members of The Four were up against each other. Diddy said it best: "One thing I wanna say to all the artists up there, this is a competition. And I'm telling y'all right now, y'all better step up because the competition is tight. So if you have any fear in your heart, please leave now. And if you're staying here, you better eat!"
So here's how the epic, head to head battles went down on the finale. In round one, each member of the The Four performed one song, and the audience voted on their favorite. The winner of that round had the power to choose who would face off against whom in round two in two battles. The two winners of those battles then competed against each other in the final round.
Up first, was Candice Boyd, who sang No Doubt's "Don't Speak" which showed off her versatility. Afterwards, Meghan told her, "It's really hard to say anything negative about your performance. It's really hard. You nailed every single note, you showed your range. I love your different choices in melody, rather than the song choice's. I love that it shows your creativity as an artist, and a songwriter." Diddy followed with, "You just continue to grow right in front of our faces. Your vocal rage is very, very seasoned."
Next, was Evvie, and the powerhouse singer sang Tina Turner's "Proud Mary," with incredible choreography that had every single panelist and audience member out of their seats. Afterwards, Diddy told her, "That performance was fearless." Meghan said, "Personally, that was my favorite performance on this stage throughout the entire season. And I saw what you're capable of and what you can deliver to the world. You blew my mind." Meanwhile, DJ Khaled whipped out a gold airhorn for Evvie, and said, "You securing the bag alert tonight! You were performing like, you're an icon or something."
Then, Vincint took the stage to perform an incredible version of Radiohead's "Creep." Meghan exclaimed after his performance, "Thank you! Yes! So good, Vincent! I was so nervous in the beginning, I was like 'no not a ballad,' and then you immediately jumped it up like I wanted you to. I feel like you read my mind, I was so happy, and that ending, your growl. I saw you as an artist, Vincint!" Diddy said, "I gotta be real. I always felt like you was the sleeper." He added, "You gave us that emotion, that commitment, that stillness, that poise, that superstar shine. This is the first time anybody has given me goosebumps. I'm proud of you."
Finally, it was Zhavia's turn, and the 16-year-old sang Drake's "One Dance." Afterwards, Meghan told her, "It wasn't my favorite performance tonight, but I know what you're capable of." And Diddy said, "I have a responsibility to tell you guys the truth. I haven't been feeling your energy since you walked on the stage. It isn't the original Zhavia that up there, fearless. That performance was not your best and you're responsible for that. I'm telling you the truth, because I want you to have a chance to win. So, I need you to know, as far as The Four up there, you're ranked No. 4. You are way, way better than that. And the beauty about this competition is now you have the information, you're going to get a second chance, and you have to give us that thing that we all fell in love with. You be you and give everybody a run for their money." Khaled animatedly told Zhavia, "I'm fighting for you."
It was time for the audience to vote on who they think won the first round of the finale, and after all four performances, they chose Evvie.
With the power to choose who would go head to head in round two, Evvie chose to challenge Zhavia, leaving Vincint and Candice to go face off against each other. Evvie explained of her choice, "I chose Zhavia because I wanna win. You said tell the truth. I wanna win, and that's why I chose her."
So, it was Evvie vs Zhavia, and up first, was Zhavia. Boots off and barefoot, she sang Rihanna's "Man Down." Evvie followed with Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine." After praise for both from Meghan and Khaled, and some constructive criticism from Diddy, it was all up to the panel to decide who would move on to the final round. And after much deliberation and going back and forth, they ultimately chose Evvie.
Then, it was Vincent vs. Candice. The winner of this head to head challenge would go on to face off against Evvie. Up first, was Vincint, who performed Bruno Mars's "Locked Out of Heaven," followed by Candice singing Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing," which got a loud golden airhorn from Khaled. He told her, "Candice, you are an artist." After discussing both performances, Fergie asked each judge for their choice. Khaled voted for Candice, while Meghan picked Vincint ... so the tie-breaking vote went to Diddy, and he chose Candice.
SO. The final battle: Evvie McKinney vs. Candice Boyd.
Round Three - The Final Round: Evvie vs. Candice
Two amazing voices were left on The Four, and they were going head to head. It was Evvie vs. Candice. But first, an "Unforgettable" performance from French Montana. The rapper performed a medley of "Unforgettable" and "Famous" as the panel joined him on stage to dance it out.
Afterwards, the panel addressed both artists. Meghan said, "Well, you both know you're queens. Candice, you know you were born with this gift. You know your vocal range and your vocal skills are better than most singers out there and you know you have something that the world deserves to hear. And Evvie, wow, mind blown! Honestly, to sing what the song means and really explain it with your eyes and your body, you do it so well."
Next, Khaled told them, "I love both of y'all. Y'all are both strong vocalists, both of y'all's performance to me was flawless. Y'all are the definition of great."
Lastly, Diddy explained, "Candice, you would be the perfect next generation of a Bad Boy female R&B artist. You deserve to win this competition. Evvie, I haven't seen nothing like you in a long time. What I can't get out of my head though, is the way you performed in that deep place that you reach deep down into. I think you deserve to win also. This is a very, very, hard decision."
After deliberating, the panel agreed ... Evvie was the winner! As Diddy said, "I wanna make a legend."
After Diddy revealed that Evvie was the winner, the Memphis native shared her emotional reaction, fighting through tears after her family joined her on stage to celebrate. She said, "I just thank God for this moment, because I've wanted it for so long. Thank y'all so much."
Not only will Evvie's career launch with the help of the judges, not only does she get a recording contract with Republic Records, but she will also become iHeartRadio's "On the Verge" artist; an artist development program supporting the winner with airplay across iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide. This program has helped launched the careers of artists like Sam Smith, Fifth Harmony and Nick Jonas, among others.
Congratulations to Evvie!
Photos: 21st Century Fox