The American Idol auditions were over, but the show wasn’t finished. The explosive success of the first season of American Idol coupled with its spectacular ratings decline in its second season meant that in 2003, producers scrambled to find ways to keep viewers interested. The answer? A nationwide search for a new group of judges and a new pool of contestants willing to risk their reputation on a singing competition. Thus born Making the Band: New Edition, which followed five aspiring singers as they tried out for the eponymous boy band and underwent grueling challenges to prove their worth. Addison Riecke was one such contender. She caught America’s attention after her audition video — in which she re-imagined Etta James’ “At Last” as an uptempo country song — went viral online.
Who is Addison Riecke?
At just 18 years of age, Addison Riecke was a late bloomer to the competition. Whereas most of her fellow contestants had been performing since they were children, Addison’s singing career kicked off at the very end of her high school years when she joined her school’s choir. A theatre and English major in college, Addison initially applied to the show to make some money while she figured out what she wanted to do next. Her life took a dramatic turn, though, when she made the semifinals of the competition.
Addison was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as the youngest of three children. Her family, she says, was quite musical and encouraged her to pursue a career in the arts. As a kid, she took piano lessons, but her real passion was for writing, and she dreamed of becoming a published author. She wrote a novel in high school, but says she was too young to know what she was doing, and she never published it. Her family relocated to Texas, where she attended college, majoring in theatre and English.She also performed in local theatre productions. Riecke auditioned for Making the Band: New Edition when she was a college student working at a bookstore.
Addison on Making the Band
Addison auditioned for American Idol in Dallas, Texas, with a rendition of Etta James’ “At Last.” Her version was decidedly country, and it became an overnight sensation, with millions of people watching the video on YouTube and Facebook Addison made it to the semifinals of the competition, where she was eliminated.
How old is Addison Riecke?
Addison Riecke was born on July 29, 1985, making her 32 years old at the time of the Making the Band competition.
Addison’s Idol Outfit: Why Blue?
During her semifinal episode, Addison performed in an aqua-colored dress that became the subject of much speculation about its significance. Some viewers thought it might have been a tribute to a loved one who had passed away, but that wasn’t the case at all. As Addison reveals in a Reddit AMA, she chose the blue dress because she had always wanted to wear a blue dress on stage.
What is Addison most proud of?
As a writer, Addison says she is most proud of her college newspaper columns, which tackled social issues like race and gender. Her time on Making the Band, however, was unquestionably a watershed moment in her life, and she says she is most proud of “being able to share [her] story through the auditions.”
Addison’s Vocals: Is She Good or Bad?
Though she was beloved by many fans, the judges were more critical of Addison’s vocal ability, which was often overshadowed by her unconventional style. Compared to her fellow contestants, Addison’s voice was a little flat, and she often struggled to hit some of the higher notes in her song choices. That said, she received praise from the judges for her unique voice, which they said was both “distinct” and “emotional.”
Where Is Addison Now?
Like many reality show contestants, Addison struggled to transition to a normal life after the cameras stopped rolling. She gave a few performances, including a spot at the Miss America pageant, but her early stardom proved to be too much, and she had to stop. Now, she works as a writer and is married to her high school sweetheart. She also has a son, who was born just before the Making the Band season wrapped. As she says in her AMA, she hopes to one day be a full-time writer, “whether that be in books, TV, or film.”