Meghan Traionr’s still all about that base. But these days she’ll tolerate some treble and tenor. Even some alto. She’s spending her summer sitting on the panel of The Four (8pm ET Thursdays on FOX), guiding wannabees and never-wills as they chase singing stardom. The Dear Future Husband singer sat down with us for a Cocktail Conversation that was as light and fruity as a Fuzzy Navel.
The series debuted in January for six weeks and was good enough for FOX executives to bring the gang back for a summer season. Meghan told us this time around contestants *and* her fellow
judges panelists are in tune with how the game is played. “I think the entire audience understands what’s going on and even the contestants. They kinda know how to play the game. They know how to keep their seats and they’re proving themselves. Every week they’re getting stronger and it’s so amazing to watch and think about even their first episode which is only like five episodes ago but they’re so different and so evolved and so good. I’m just so proud of them.”
The show has four champions defending their seats as challengers sing for the right to go head to head with one of them. In season one, the judges and the audience seemed to have musical A.D.D. The Four kept changing faces and voices. But this time around our
judges panelists are taking a bit more control and not letting challengers off so easy. “I’m proud that the audience and Diddy, Khaled and myself have kept at least two of the four strong on the chairs. And it’s really impressive because we didn’t have that in the first season.”
But that’s not to say they’re letting sub par talent languish for the sake of continuity. “The talent’s even stronger this season.”
Call her a softie if you want, but Meghan told us she gets very close to the contestants, which makes sense, since she’s not that much older or that far removed from when she was trying to break into the biz. “I get so emotionally involved with these artists. I feel for them. I was in their position before so I just get too attached. And when they leave I’m heartbroken.” But this time she’s trying to keep her emotions in check. “I learned to be stronger and to cry less.” Let it out, Meghan. You do you!
But there can be only four, and that means sometimes she has to say goodbye to a sentimental fave. “But that’s the business. That’s exactly what happens. You have to not only get your chair but keep that chair for a minute.”
And while they’re available for her Trainor tutelage, Miss Meghan helps them make the most of their time, and it’s not just a one way street. “Every performance, every appearance, you gotta be better. That’s what I’m learning. You gotta have better outfits, cooler hair. A better song or sing it better. Perform it stronger. And that’s what I try to tell myself with every performance.” That’s right, she’s using them to make herself stronger too. “And people have noticed a difference when I have that mentality. They’re like ‘you’ve been stepping up.’ And I’m like ‘yeah, that’s what you have to do.'” to remind everyone that I’m still here.” And in this business, Meg knows that tomorrow is never guaranteed. “That’s the business. That’s how it all works. It’s exhausting and I’m just so grateful the fans are keeping me here.”
While The Four has never turned out numbers like American Idol in the mid 2000s, it has found a following on social media. And these days that’s where people are watching and discussing their fave shows. “Social media definitely brought this show up to where it is and continues to push it. And we’re so grateful for that, we’re so grateful for the fans.” And if you’re old-fashioned enough to sit down and watch the show as it airs, you can watch with Meghan and her fellow
judges panelists, Diddy and DJ Khaled. “We try to go online. We definitely go on-line every episode when it premieres and talk to the fans all night long.” Spend the night with Meghan and friends? Sign us up!
And it’s social media that has kept the show going this season. Let’s face it, it’s summer and we’re more likely to be by the pool sipping a pineapple and coconut vodka and starting our weekend early at 8pm on a Thursday instead of being cooped up inside. Meg knows the score and told us “We were all worried too. We were like ‘it’s a summer show, no one’s gonna be watching.’ But they’re there. The fans are strong, they’re loud. They stop me at airports like ‘we love the four.’ I’m like what?!?”
Meghan sits at the
judge’s panelist’s table with fellow judges panelists DJ Khaled and hip-hop icon Diddy. We asked her which of them is the most unpredictable. “I don’t know. It’s a mix with Diddy and Khaled. Some nights Khaled will be just saying random stuff and me and Diddy will be like ‘What? What was that?” We can relate. We’ve talked with DJ Khaled a couple of times and he can be a wild card. You really never know when the convo is gonna turn left and never go back. “Yeah, you never know what you’re gonna get with him.” pause “But he’s just so sweet.”
As for working with Diddy, Meg says it’s sweetly professional. “Diddy will ask me for advice sometimes on what to say and I’m like ‘I got you bro’ and I help him out but they’re so sweet and they’re so honest, which is the best part.”
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
Four Loko. It’s edgy and should only be on special occasions, but have a couple and you will be inspired to defend your seat at the bar as fiercely as a contestant on The Four. Meghan would approve, we’re sure!