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Fox’s new singing competition, The Four, is named for its number of contestants

An image from Armoza Formats' promotional materials for its show The Final Four, which Fox has acquired and will produce as The Four.

Fox just announced a new singing competition, The Four, that will have just four contestants. But they won’t be competing against each other. Instead, they’ll each face a new competitor who wants to replace them. At the end of the season, the four contestants remaining will compete against each other.

In its announcement, made at the Television Critics Association summer press tour this morning, Fox said that “challengers could be fans who had been sitting on a couch one week, and singing onstage the next.”

That sentence made me think of another show—except I cannot think of what that show is, and my searching has failed.

Fox Television Group CEO Dana Walden said that other singing competitions have “become more about celebrity panels and less about star-making.”

The series comes from Armoza Formats, which called its version The Final Four; it launched the show at MIPTV and has sold it to networks in several countries, including Italy, Spain, France, and Norway.

It promises the show “brings the beloved auditions flavor to the entire season,” and episode will have “amazing emotional peaks in every episode.” There’s a preview here.

Fox’s version of The Final Four is just The Four

Here’s how Fox describes the structure of its version, which will be produced by ITV Entertainment:

“The Four begins where most competitions end: with the four finalists. Four super-talented and fiercely competitive singers, chosen from their auditions by the show’s panel of music industry experts, will try to defend their coveted spots on the stage, as they are challenged individually by new singers determined to replace them. Each week, if any of the four are outperformed, they’ll go home and their challengers will take their place.

And those challengers could be fans who had been sitting on a couch one week, and singing onstage the next. Viewers who think they’ve got the talent to compete and unseat the four singers onstage will have the opportunity to submit an audition video. America will have the chance to decide who is brought onto the show by voting on the available streamed auditions and influencing which challengers will take on The Four and shake up the competition.

If the existing four singers outperform their challengers, then they survive to sing another week, until the end of the season, when the singers have safely secured their spots on stage and face off against each other, resulting in one being named the winner. At stake is the ultimate prize: the panel of industry experts becomes key players on the winner’s team. This elite group of star-makers will help shepherd the winner’s career and be fully invested in making him or her a breakout star.”

Even though it says this is “the ultimate prize,” it doesn’t seem to be a well-defined one—at least, it’s not cash, or a record deal, or both.

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