We can't call it a comeback, because Amber Riley never really left — and April's shaping up to be a huge month for her. After being demoted to a recurring role at the end of Glee's Season 4, Riley returned to Glee as Mercedes Jones last week. And a few days later, the singer-songstress debuted her new song "Colorblind" on The Queen Latifah Show . So what's Riley been up to with all of that time she freed up by taking a break from dueling with Rachel Berry?
Well, if you haven't been living under a rock for the past year, you probably know that Amber Riley is the reigning Dancing with the Stars champion. The actress won the dancing competition's seventeenth season with her partner Derek Hough after nabbing perfect scores with their final three performances. The actress also teamed up with American Idol YouTube star Todrick Hall in "Spell Block Tango" — a Chicago -meets-Disney villains riff on the musical's "Cell Block Tango". Riley starred as Ursula from the Disney classic The Little Mermaid alongside fellow Glee star Adam Lambert, Adrienne Bailon, Shoshanna Bean. Naturally, Riley was amazing because she's so great at playing an über-talented but under-appreciated diva. In Nov. 2013, the actress launched Rileyland Fashions — a site that allows fans to shop directly from her closet. Because she's not just a talented dancer and singer but a fashionista we all want to copy — the first batch of garments sold out quickly. But other than these three accomplishments/epic moments, Riley's kept a low profile career-wise in Hollywood until now.
With the recent release of "Colorblind," we can only hope that Riley's working on a solo album, á la Mercedes Jones, that will showcase her powerhouse voice. Earlier this year, Riley covered The Saturdays' "Leave A Light On," a song that she co-wrote for the British group and dropped a new song of her own called "Casino" on SoundCloud. So maybe that album isn't too far off? Riley is set to perform the song during Glee 's Tuesday night episode titled "Bash". "Colorblind" is also set to become available on iTunes that day as well. And we're going to go there an say that she's giving Lea Michele and Naya Rivera a run for their money.
But when Riley debuted the new song last Thursday there was no accompanying announcement that an album is even in the works. What's that about, girl? You can't just leave us hanging like this with two new songs and no promise of anything more.
With all of these great and promising music announcements from Riley in 2014 comes very little on the film front. The star's IMDB page shows Glee as her most recent project and before that is her 2010 stint on The Simpsons, the Glee: Director's Cut Pilot Episode, and a 2002 TV movie. But don't panic Riley-fans, it appears that Riley's been reinstated as a series regular on Glee now that she's moved to New York — fellow star Naya Rivera tweeted on Mar. 31 and Apr. 4 that she was working with Riley on set. So perhaps Mercedes Jones is sticking around for a lot longer than we thought? It sure looks like it.
According to the star's comments to The Hollywood Reporter she's unsure as to whether or not Mercedes will appear in Glee 's Season 6. But as far as Season 5, it looks like she's in for the long haul — Sam and Blaine are moving in with her, after all, and she might be rekindling her romance with everyone's favorite trouty-mouth. We definitely wouldn't be complaining if Riley signed on for the remainder of the series — we missed her sass and talent while she was out in L.A. "working on an album" and ruling Hollywood.
We're not surprised that Riley's brief absence wasn't packed with announcements and albums — I mean, DWTS is a huge commitment, after all. But if her recent return to regular-status on Glee and dropping "Colorblind" are any indication, Riley's got a big 2014 ahead of her and we couldn't be happier.