‘The Four’ Season 2 finale recap: Did James Graham, Sharaya J, Leah Jenae or Whitney Reign win it all? [UPDATING LIVE BLOG]

The winner of “The Four” Season 2 was named on Thursday, August 2 after eight weeks of head-to-head battles and powerful performances. Which of the four finalists was declared the winner: 21-year-old James Graham, 34-year-old Sharaya J, 17-year-old Leah Jenea or 25-year-old Whitney Reign? Judges/coaches Meghan Trainor, Sean Combs and DJ Khaled and host Fergie oversaw the two-hour finale on Fox, but how did it all play out?

Below, check out our minute-by-minute “The Four: Battle for Stardom” recap of Season 2, Episode 8 to find out what happened Thursday, August 2 at 8/7c. Then be sure to sound off in the comments section about what you thought of this latest addition to “The Four” winners list. Keep refreshing/reloading this live blog for the most recent updates.

8:00 p.m. – “Previously on ‘The Four’!” As a refresher, in last week’s seventh episode James sang “Without You” and eliminated JeRonelle McGhee, Sharaya sang “Mama Said Knock You Out” and beat Dylan Jacob, Leah sang “Focus” and defeated Carvena Jones, and Whitney sang “Don’t Let Go (Love)” and took out Ali Caldwell. Now it’s time to find out who will win it all! Let’s get this thing started.

8:10 p.m. – The finalists kicked things off as a quartet singing “Hard” by Rihanna before they will be forced to turn on each other and fight for the championship. Prior to tonight, the artists had a chance to sit down with Diddy and Khaled to get some advice. Fergie then announced how Round 1 will go down. Each artist will perform and then the audience will vote for their favorite. Whoever wins Round 1 gets to choose who they challenge in Round 2.

8:12 p.m. – Whitney is up first singing “Lady Marmalade” by Patti LaBelle. This is a big song for someone who appears to be having vocal struggles, but it allows her to show off her sassy side which the audience loves. Whitney thrives when she combines vocals with sultry moves, but this performance was just okay.

8:20 p.m. – Second to perform is Leah, singing “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper. This is the first real POP song we’ve heard from Leah. She sounds great, as always, but I am not getting the same level of shock and awe from this as I have from her other performances. It was just solid for me.

8:25 p.m. – Up third is the hip-hop queen, Sharaya J. She’s adding her own original lyrics to “Juicy” by The Notorious B.I.G. In comparison to her prior performances, this is much more mellow. Perhaps knowing elimination isn’t on the line is allowing her to relax and let the audience hear the “slow jam” side of her, but I like watching Sharaya when she’s got the pedal to the metal. Three performances in, I’m not wowed by anyone.

8:35 p.m. – Last to perform in Round 1 is the British pop sensation, James. He’s starting off his night with “Rock With  You” by Michael Jackson. When I heard this song choice I thought, “Oh no!” But James is actually rockin’ this! He’s got a great falsetto and I have to credit him for pulling off a song from the King of Pop. All in all, in the first round I would probably vote for…Sharaya J.

8:45 p.m. – It’s time for the audience to vote for the winner of Round 1! The artist who received the most votes and earned the power to choose who they want to challenge in Round 2 is…Sharaya J! The Queen remains undefeated! She has chosen to face off against Whitney in the first battle. From here on out, the panel will choose the winner of each battle.

8:50 p.m. – Whitney is up first singing “Million Reasons” by Lady Gaga. She looks stunning and is putting her heart and soul into this performance, but it isn’t making me feel anything. Her voice isn’t at full strength and it’s noticeable not only from listening, but watching Diddy and Khaled grimace throughout the performance. I don’t think she has a prayer in this battle.

9:00 p.m. – Sharaya is up next performing with a full cast of backup dancers. Despite having love for Whitney, she’s not afraid to throw a little trash talking into the lyrics. She wants the WIN. There simply isn’t anyone hungrier to win than Sharaya and you can feel it. It wasn’t my favorite performance of hers, but she is easily the winner of this battle. Does the panel agree with me? Yes! Sharaya J will move on to the final round.

9:12 p.m. – The next battle will be a re-match between Leah and James. Of course Leah defeated James in their first meeting when she stole his seat. After fighting his way back into the finale, will he be able to take her down this time? Leah is up first and honestly the girl has look petrified all night. She needs to loosen up and be the star I know she is. Singing “Golden” by Jill Scott, this song is much more in her wheelhouse than her first. All that said, I still don’t like this as much as what she’s done the previous two weeks, but she finished strong.

9:20 p.m. – James is hoping to redeem himself against Leah with “Hello” by Adele. This song seems a bit predictable but I love his vocal interpretation of it. Wow! He isn’t going to make this easy for the panel. This is a tough one! If I had to choose whose record I’d buy it would probably be Leah. But I think James won this battle! What will the panel decide?

9:25 p.m. – The panel has decided the winner of this battle is…James! Dang, I’m sad for Leah but she came into tonight scared. She’s only 16, I expect big things from her. James deserves his spot in the final battle with Sharaya. Two original members of The Four made it all the way to the finale.

9:30 p.m. – Back to debut her brand new single “How Do You Feel” is Season 1 winner Evvie McKinney. I loved this girl last season and I can’t wait to what she’s been working on. It’s a mid-tempo ballad and I have to admit I love Evvie when she’s showing off her dance moves, but this is pretty good!

9:40 p.m. – Sharaya J is up first in the final battle, performing her original song “Say Less.” She has saved the best for last with this fierce delivery of hers that I have loved since day one. The fearless Queen turned this into a real battle by walking straight up to James and rapping an entire verse in his face before sashaying back to the stage to strike a final pose. Yaaasssss!

9:45 p.m. – James gets the final say in this battle, singing “Fix You” by Coldplay. The girls in the audience go nuts for this kid! He sounds great in the opening verse. There is no question that James has chops and as the bass kicks in he turns it up a notch. Standing ovation! Who is the panel going to choose???? I have no idea. It’s tough to compare a rapper to a balladeer.

9:50 p.m. – As the judges gave their final comments, Sharaya announced that the tumor in her breast is gone. Tears! I’m happy to hear she is well on her way to a long, healthy life. James and Sharaya both seem like great people and deserving winners.

9:59 p.m. – The time has come to announce the winner. The Season 2 champion of “The Four” is….James! The former boy band member from Great Britain has defeated the longest-running member of “The Four.” Congrats James!

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