'The Four' crowns James Graham as Season 2 winner over rapper Sharaya J
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 08/03/2018
The Four: Battle for Stardom crowned James Graham its second-season winner, with Sharaya J finishing as the runner-up, during Thursday night's two-hour finale broadcast on Fox.
Just before music mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs handed out The Four trophy to this season's champion, he admitted, "This was a very, very hard decision. If we could have it our way, we'd give both y'all record deals, but there can only be one winner of The Four."
Diddy then announced, "The winner of The Four Season 2 is James Graham!"
James, a 21-year-old former boyband frontman from Essex, England, celebrated with the panelists and his family onstage after his victory was announced, and he appeared to be on the verge of tears.
"Thank you all so much," James noted. "I am honestly in shock right now. Thank you all so much... Sharaya, I love you."
James and Sharaya J were both actually original artists on The Four this season who made it all the way to the finale. While James was eliminated once and won his way back onto the show, Sharaya J. had defended her seat time and time again.
The Four's second-season finale began with the Final 4 artists preparing to battle it out amongst themselves for a recording contract with Republic Records, the opportunity to become iHeartRadio's "On the Verge" artist this year, and a career backed by Diddy as well as the rest of the panelists: Music producer DJ Khaled and Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Meghan Trainor.
The Final 4 artists were James, 34-year-old Sharaya J, 17-year-old Leah Jenea, and 25-year-old Whitney Reign.
There were three rounds of competition during the finale.
In Round 1, each of the four finalists performed one song each, and then the audience got to vote for its favorite of the bunch. The fan favorite would then choose whom he or she would like to challenge in Round 2, leaving the other two competitors to duke it out in a battle of their own.
The two winners of those battles would then face-off in a final challenge and perform for their lives.
The audience voted for Sharaya J as the winner of Round 1, and so she in turn opted to battle Whitney in Round 2.
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"I think I can beat her and that's a fact," Sharaya J said of her reasons for choosing Whitney.
Whitney -- who was a comeback artist this season -- was up first and delivered an emotional performance of "Million Reasons" by Lady Gaga, followed by Sharaya J's original rap.
The panelists decided to advance Sharaya J to the third round.
That left James to perform against Leah, who was the singer to knock him out of his seat the first time this season.
Leah impressed with "Golden" by Jill Scott, and then James belted out a unique rendition of "Hello" by Adele.
After deliberating and taking all previous performances into account, the panelists sent James through to Round 3, which featured Sharaya J. performing an original song called "Say Less" and James performing "Fix You" by Coldplay.
The panelists were absolutely torn between the Final 2 artists, especially given Sharaya J had battled her way through the season with breast cancer while undergoing chemotherapy. But still, the judges decided to give James the trophy since he had exuded so much vulnerability and heart on the stage.