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‘The Four’: A Deep Dive Into Viewer Emotions

Fox’s The Four: Battle for Stardom may be the latest in a series of singing competition shows, but it offers a new spin on the well-known reality format in that there are no auditions. Competitors are immediately thrust into a live audience setting with an opportunity to blow the judges away, and, if deemed impressive enough, challenge fellow singers for a chance to be the last one standing.

B&C partnered with Canvs, the emotion measurement company, to see how viewers have been emotionally reacting to the season thus far. Also below: advertising insights courtesy of iSpot.

Since its premiere on Jan. 4, The Four has inspired a total of 106,257 Emotional Reactions (ERs), with the most recent episode on Feb. 1 generating the most (38,470 ERs). This is interesting because it’s fairly typical to see premieres and finales create more buzz than the episodes in between.

In terms of specific emotions, overall love is leading the way, occuring in 25.9% of ERs, followed by enjoyment (12.1%), dislike (9%) and crazy (8.6%). It’s worth noting that when it comes to viewers’ displeasure, it’s directed more at the competitors and judges than at the show itself.

As you may expect, the competitors themselves have been some of the biggest conversation drivers, with 16-year-old singer Zhavia topping the list of most-mentioned topics. Her recent elimination sparked an avalanche of emotion among viewers: many were heartbroken to see her go, while others said she was annoying and were glad to say goodbye. 

Of the judges, Sean “Diddy” Combs has been the most talked about, with fans split between loving him or calling him annoying.

One caveat: The data doesn’t yet reflect viewer reaction to some news that’s unfolding in real time. Though judge Charlie Walk appeared as usual on Thursday night’s episode, which was pre-taped, he announced that he won’t appear on the show’s upcoming finale because, as he put it in a statement in the wake of sexual harassment allegations made against him, “I do not want my presence to be a distraction…. Although I continue to support the ‘Me Too’ movement, there has been an extreme rush to judgment against me in this particular case, which is unfair and inconsistent with anything that even actually happened.” (For more details, see “Charlie Walk departs 'The Four' following sexual harassment allegations” from Fox News.)

Of course, the sudden departure of one of the show’s star judges will be noticed and remarked upon by viewers of the Feb. 8 final; it remains to be seen just how much the Walk controversy will overshadow the close of the first season.

Meanwhile, according to, which has attention and conversion data from more than seven million smart TVs, T-Mobile, Chevrolet and Wendy’s are among the top-spending brands so far. (T-Mobile in particular is no stranger to this type of show; the telecommunications brand was the No. 1 spender during the most recent season of The Voice on NBC.)

But it’s been the CPG industry that has had the best success with retaining audience attention: All Laundry Detergent, Finish, Delsym and Vaseline all had high iSpot Attention Indices, meaning that they received fewer interruptions than average (interruptions include changing the channel, pulling up the guide, fast-forwarding or turning off the TV).