The Four: Battle For Stardom is finally here, and this isn't your average singing competition show either -- it all begins where most other shows end: with the four FINALISTS.
Four very talented singers have been chosen -- Blair Perkins, Ash Minor, Lex Lu, and Elanese Lansen -- and they will defend their spots on stage as they are challenged individually by new singers determined to replace them. If the existing four outperform their challengers, they survive to sing another week, until the end of the season when the final four face off against each other. But, only one will claim the ultimate prize for an aspiring artist: a team of elite star-makers – the series’ panel of judges (DJ Khaled, Puff Daddy, Meghan Trainor, and Charlie Walk) – who are all committed to launching and guiding the winner’s music career.
Not only will the winner's career launch with the help of the judges, they 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.
iHeartRadio recently caught up with Blair, Ash, Lex Lu, and Elanese, and they talked about what it was like to be told by Puff Daddy they were picked to be on The Four: Battle for Stardom, which judge they think will be the toughest critic, and more. Read on below.
The way you were discovered you were going to be on The Four was really awesome -- Puff Daddy slid into your DMs on Instagram! What was your first thought when you saw a DM from Puff Daddy?
Blair: "It was shocking because they told us to sit down in this room and they were just like, 'You like social media or anything?' And 'Do you like Instagram?' So we were just like, 'Okay, what are we doing?' They were like, 'Check your DMs,' and then that came through. I think we were all kind of shocked."
Elanese: "Yeah. They definitely tricked us."
Ash: "I let a few people slip into my DMs but Diddy in the DMs. Diddy slipped into my DMs. He can do that. It was pretty cool when it happened."
What has this experience been like so far? It looks like you guys have been very busy preparing.
Ash: "We've been working a minimum of 15-hour days each day. Early starts, late finishes. It's wardrobe, hair, working out repertoire ... all that kind of stuff for the show. A lot goes on behind the scenes ... and especially being season one. I think it's a learning curve for everybody."
Lex Lu: "It's really cool because, like instantly, the moment we found out we were 'The Four,' the moment they announced us, we've been going nonstop. So it's been really cool because I get my makeup done, and my hair done, and new cute clothes, and then obviously we got to meet Diddy, Meghan, and Khaled, and Charlie. It was super-amazing for us."
Ash: "Kind of feels like when we get down-time, it feels weird. Now we've been working so hard and going from place to place, when they're like, 'You guys can chill for a day,' it's like ... tumbleweed. What do I do with myself?"
What was it like meeting all of the judges for the first time?
Blair: "It was surreal. I think we were all kind of focused on the performance, because we were just about to go on stage. So we were like, 'Nice to meet you,' but in our heads we were like, 'Okay, we've got these steps. We've got these words down.' But, it was amazing meeting them."
Elanese: "We probably didn't freak out as much as we should have because we were so worried about getting our performance right. And then afterwards we were like, 'Wait ... did I just hug Diddy? Did that just happen?'"
Ash: "It's weird. I mean like Diddy for example. I know I grew up with his music, and him as a figure being around my house all the time. So when you meet these people it's almost like you already know them. You say, 'Hey, what's up dudes?' It's weird."
Lex Lu: "It's pretty epic, actually."
Now that you've met all of the judges, which judge do you think will be the toughest critic?
Lex Lu: "Well for me, because I am a rapper, I think that Diddy is going to be my toughest critic because he did groom a lot of stars that are in the hip-hop world. So, I feel like for me, he's probably going to come for my throat. But I know I've been working really hard, so I think he'll be proud."
Elanese: "I think Charlie Walk probably is like the one you want to ... I don't know. [He's] the most intimidating. Because he really knows what it takes to make it in this industry. He's a huge executive, so that's intimidating for me.
Blair: "They all have so much experience and they're all pros at this. I'm nervous for them all because it's just like everybody is popular, and them for a reason so. It's kind of like nerve-wracking seeing all of them, for me."
Ash: "I'm not really nervous by the judges. It's not really nerves, it's more just like I'm a pretty tough critic on myself and I want to impress them. I hear Charlie in particular, like he's done so much in the industry and he's broken so many artists. You want to be the person who is like, 'Oh he's the next one that I want to try and make a super-star!' So it's never really nerves. For me it's excitement, but it's more [like] I just put a really high standard on myself. It's more expectation that I put on myself as opposed to nerves."
Get to know more about The Four: Battle for Stardom contestants below.
Photos: Rachel Kaplan