Forget the New York Yankees — Diddy and Fox have built the newest superteam.
The producer, rapper, and mogul headlines the panel for The Four: Battle for Stardom, Fox’s attempt at revolutionizing the singing competition and countering American Idol (the network’s former crown jewel) moving to ABC.
Speaking with EW recently, Diddy said he was looking to mimic Dwyane Wade and LeBron James’ former Miami Heat squad by building his own “superteam.” He’s done just that, as he’s joined by Grammy winner Meghan Trainor, mega-producer DJ Khaled, and Republic Records boss Charlie Walk, with Fergie serving as host.
“We start where all the other shows end,” Diddy said of the “disruptive” event series, which skips the audition rounds and begins with four finalists. But each week, they must defend their spot against newcomers trying to knock them out of the competition. The last singer standing will be named iHeartRadio’s “On the Verge” artist and earn the guidance and support of the A-list panel in their hopes of becoming a star.
Ahead of Thursday’s premiere, EW chatted with Diddy, DJ Khaled, Walk, and Trainor about why they joined the series, their different judging styles, and the panel’s “adorable” chemistry.
The format of The Four is unlike any show before it. What do you like most about the setup?
TRAINOR:I like that it feels like a new game. I had to learn the rules and learn how it works. I thought was exciting. And I like that right away it’s an intense competition, from episode 1. It’s not like everyone’s auditioning just to get to a different level. No, we have four chairs here and they are our kings and queens and we love them already, so battle them if you can. I thought that was sick.
WALK: Everyone loves a battle. Everyone loves the underdog. We’re going to get a lot of that here. So what does that mean? It means that there will be multiple challengers every week against the four; I bet someone gets knocked out. I bet it gets bloody and sweaty and intense in this coliseum that we’re in; that’s what it feels like when I’m there. The idea is to make a difference in culture. With this panel and this platform and the show’s concept, I think it has the best opportunity to at least take someone and move culture, because we’re going to promote it and market it and push it and give someone the opportunity that no one has seen before.
It’s early, but how would you describe your judging style?
DJ KHALED: My judging style is I’m me. If you were great, I’m going to tell you that you were great. If you need advice, I’m going to give you advice. If you need to do better, I’m going to motivate and inspire you to not give up. Because if you don’t come out the winner of this show, that doesn’t mean you’re not the next superstar because they told me “no” my whole life. Look where I’m at right now. So that right there, it can be the No. 5 person that becomes the No. 1 in the world, but everybody gets an opportunity. It’s on you what you do with your opportunity.
TRAINOR: I don’t really know. I assume that I will be emotional and helpful as much as I can. I think I’m going to be the most musical when I give advice compared to the other guys. But I’ll have a lot of love for these people because I know what it’s like to be in their shoes.
WALK: We’re not going to hold anything back. Someone said to me, “Who are you going to be?” I’m going to be me. I’m not a villain, we talk truth because for this show. I’m not looking for someone to play clubs for the rest of their lives, I’m looking for someone to play arenas. Those are the acts that we get to work with at Republic.
The Four premieres Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.