Amber Riley

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Amber Riley
Amber Riley by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Riley at the 2010 Comic Con in San Diego
Born (1986-02-15) February 15, 1986 (age 28)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress, singer-songwriter, philanthropist, dancer
Years active 2002–present

Amber Patrice Riley (born February 15, 1986) is an American actress, singer-songwriter, and philanthropist, known for her role on the series Glee as Mercedes Jones and as the winner of season 17 of Dancing with the Stars.[1]

Early life[edit]

Amber Riley was born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Tiny (née Hightower) and Elwin Riley.[2] Riley auditioned for American Idol when she was 17 years old, during the show's second season, but was turned down by the producers.[3] She graduated from La Mirada High School in La Mirada, California in 2004. Her Drama teacher was Mrs. Erin Strauss.[4]

Career[edit]

Riley played the role of Mercedes Jones on Glee during its first four seasons, and as a recurring guest star in its fifth season.[5] She performed numerous solos, including "Respect", "Bust Your Windows", "Hate on Me", "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going", "Beautiful", "Bridge over Troubled Water", "I Look to You", "Hell to the No", "Ain't No Way", "Try a Little Tenderness", "Spotlight", "All I Want for Christmas Is You" and, three days after Whitney Houston's death, a tribute version of "I Will Always Love You". She also played Dr. Frank-N-Furter in the episode The Rocky Horror Glee Show, singing the lead on the song "Sweet Transvestite" to generally positive reviews from critics.[6][7] For her role as Mercedes Jones, she won a Screen Actors Guild Award and received nominations for an NAACP Image Award and a Teen Choice Award.

Riley appeared at the 2010 MTV VMAs, sang the national anthem at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and is currently making a solo album.[8] She also co-wrote a track titled "Leave a Light On" for British group The Saturdays which is featured on their album Living for the Weekend.[citation needed]

Riley won the seventeenth season on ABC's Dancing with the Stars, and was partnered with the show's one and only five-time champion, Derek Hough.[9] Riley and Hough tied the record for highest first-week score of 27, received 5 perfect scores of 30, and only received a score lower than 8 one time. Riley is the first African-American woman to win Dancing With the Stars.

Riley's debut single "Colorblind" premiered live on April 3, 2014 on The Queen Latifah Show. The song was written by Emeli Sandé, Claude Kelly & Steve Mac, and will be released as a digital download on April 8, 2014.[10] The song will also be performed on Glee.

Dancing with the Stars performances[edit]

Week # Dance/song Judges' score Result
Inaba Goodman Tonioli
1 Cha-Cha-Cha/"Wings" 9 9 9 No Elimination
2 Jive/"Reet Petite" 8 8 8 Safe
3 Charleston/"Bang Bang" 8 8 8 Safe
4 Tango/"Love Lockdown" 9 91 9 Safe
5 Foxtrot/"Try a Little Tenderness" 9 7 10 Safe
6 Samba/"Get It Right"
Switch-Up Challenge
10
Awarded
8
4
10
Points
No Elimination
7 Paso Doble/"Diablo Rojo"
Group Dance Freestyle/"The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)"
10
10
10
10
9
10
Safe
8 Rumba/"If I Could Turn Back Time" 9 92 10 Safe (Immunity)
9 Quickstep/"Diga Diga Doo"
Salsa (Trio challenge)3/"Que Viva la Vida"
8
9
8
9
8
9
Safe
10
Semi-finals
Jazz/"Locked Out of Heaven"
Viennese Waltz/"Locked Out of Heaven" (Acoustic Version)
10
10
10/94
10/104
10
10
Safe
11
Finals
Charleston/"Bang Bang"
Samba relay/"No Scrubs"
Freestyle/"Can You Do This"
10
Awarded
10
10
4
10
10
points
10
Safe
Quickstep & Samba Fusion/"(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" 10 10 10 Won
1In week four, judge Len Goodman was absent and guest judge Julianne Hough filled in for him.
2In week eight, judge Len Goodman was absent and guest judge Cher filled in for him.
3The dancer Hough and Riley chose for the Trio Challenge is Mark Ballas.
4Scores from guest judge Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

Philanthropy[edit]

In 2011, Riley acted as a campaign spokesperson for Do Something and VH1 Save The Music Foundation's second annual "Battle for the Bands." Riley starred in a PSA campaign and engaged fans through social media to participate in the campaign that mobilized young people in the fight for keeping music education in schools.[11] Riley has also teamed up with State Farm's "Celebrate My Drive" campaign to advocate safe awareness for Beginner Drivers, and Encouragement for youth.

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Album
US
2014 "Colorblind" TBA
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2002 St. Sass Toby Television pilot
2009–present Glee Mercedes Jones Seasons 1–4: Series regular (74 episodes)[12]

Seasons 5-present: Recurring guest star (8 episodes)
Won — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2010)
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (2011)
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (2012)
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series (2013)
Nominated — Teen Choice Award for Choice TV: Female Scene Stealer (2010)
Nominated — Teen Choice Award for Choice Music: Group (shared with Glee cast) (2010)
Nominated — Teen Choice Award for Choice TV: Female Scene Stealer (2011)

2010 Simpsons, TheThe Simpsons Aiesha Episode: "Elementary School Musical"
2011 Glee: The 3D Concert Movie Mercedes Jones Movie
2012 VH1 Divas Herself Presenter
2013 Dancing With the Stars Herself She won the season on November 26, 2013
Partnered with Derek Hough

References[edit]

External links[edit]