On week three of The Four, FOX’s latest reality singing competition, Candice Boyd, Cheyenne Elliott, Zhavia and Jason Warrior were back to defend their seats. Fergie was back to host, and Sean “Diddy” Combs, DJ Khaled, Meghan Trainor and Charlie Walk were back as the panel of experts. Zhavia was told by doctors this week that she might not be able to compete because of health problems that were affecting her voice.
Here’s how the show works: Potential challengers sing solos, and the four panelists have to unanimously vote in favor of the newcomer directly challenging a member of the four. If voted through by the panel, the newcomer chooses which member of the sitting four they want to sing against, and after both perform, the live studio audience votes on who gets the seat. If a newcomer unseats a member of the four, they are then safe for the rest of the evening.
Rapper Rell Jerv was the first potential challenger. “I’m hip-hop all the way,” Jerv told the panelists. All of the sitting four artists were singers rather than rappers, but Jerv was up for the challenge. For his first performance, Jerv rapped his own version of Kendrick Lamar's “Pools.” The panelists were uniformly impressed, and Jerv got a chance to challenge one of the sitting four artists. Jerv decided to take on Elliott since she unseated a rapper last week.
Fergie stoked the fire by bringing up the fact that some viewers had suggested that Elliott only got the spot in the four because of her relationship to pop icon (and her grandma) Dionne Warwick. Elliott responded by saying that she respects her family but that she can stand on her own.
Elliott started with a performance of “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus. She put a lot of power behind the vocals and made the song her own with a much rounder sound than the original recording.
Jerv performed next, bringing an old-school rap style to the stage. His performance reflected experience and confidence. It was a tough competition because of the dissimilar genres, but that has been one of the elements that has made The Four stand out. Trainor said that she could never have a voice as big as Elliott’s but added that she wanted more. Walk said that Jerv is important for the world to see from a lyrical point of view. The audience voted for Jerv to unseat Elliott. For the rest of the night, Jerv was safe.
Sean Cavaliere was the next potential challenger, singing “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes. Cavaliere had some experience singing in a boy band, but he came to The Four hoping to take his solo career to the next level. It sounded a little too close to the original, and that’s not what The Four is going for. Walk asked if Cavaliere can write, and he said he had started but hadn’t released anything yet. “I don’t feel like he’s better than the four,” Khaled said. The panelists did not vote Cavaliere through to the next stage.
Jefferson Clay was up next, singing “Better Man” by James Morrison for his chance to challenge. He played guitar and sang well, showcasing a unique tone and impressive artistry. The panelists voted him through to challenge without hesitation. Khaled brought his son to the stage and urged to put it all on the line. Clay chose to challenge Warrior.
Warrior sang “Love On The Brain” by Rihanna. It was a great song choice, and Warrior proved why he belonged in the four seats. His phrasing was great.
Clay did an acoustic version of “Ignition,” and while it was creative, it didn’t bring the energy the way Warrior’s performance did. His guitar playing was a little sloppy, and his physicality was awkward.
“Where I’m from, we work hard,” Warrior said after Clay insinuated that he wasn’t an artist. “Don’t pick that song,” Trainor said to Clay, suggesting that he wasn’t better than the original. Khaled encouraged the artists to shake hands before the vote. The audience votes for Warrior to keep his spot, and he was safe for the rest of the night.
The next challenger of the night was Nicole Boggs from Nashville. She sang Trainor’s own “Like I’m Gonna Lose You,” which made Trainor very excited. Boggs’ version was honestly better than the original. Trainor admitted that she was jealous at how easy she made it seem. “I don’t know,” Combs said. “But I like you.” The panelists voted for Boggs to challenge. Boogs chose to challenge Zhavia.
She sang “Killing Me Softly,” and even though she was having some voice problems, it actually gave her voice a rasp she didn’t previously have. But her stage presence didn’t seem authentic. The panelists seemed to love her once again, but it was nothing special.
Boggs sang “Praying” by Kesha, and she sounded particularly strong on the low notes. She didn’t go for the high note, but it was still really strong. “Everyone tonight felt your voice, and we all got goosebumps,” Walk said to Boggs. Zhavia pulled through, making her the longest seat holder on the show. It’s still unclear why she has been so popular.
Next up was 18-year-old Tim Johnson Jr., who played Young Simba in The Lion King in Las Vegas. He sang “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green. He had a strong throwback sound and magnetic stage presence. The panelists voted for him to advance, and Johnson had to challenge Boyd since she was the only artist who wasn’t locked for the night.
Boyd sang “Here” by Alessia Cara, and it was a great song choice for her. She showcased her impressive technical skills as well as her strong lyrical interpretation.
For his second performance of the night, Johnson sang “All I Want” by Kodaline. It was another impressive performance, the young artist showing range and strong musical instincts. His falsetto was gorgeous. Khaled said he could see Boyd's version. It was ultimately up to the audience. They voted for Johnson to unseat Boyd.
This article originally appeared on THR.com.