Making the Band might not have the pop culture cachet of Simon Cowell’s talent show juggernauts, but the TGIF hit undoubtedly paved the way for TV-manufactured pop groups such as One Direction, Little Mix and Fifth Harmony.
Following the news that the nationwide talent search will return to MTV 20 years after it first aired, here’s a look at how its first four Frankenbands (and one solo act) fared once the cameras stopped rolling.
Arriving at the tail end of the Backstreet Boys vs. *NSYNC rivalry, O-Town gave turn of the century pop fans another all-singing, all-dancing, All-American boy band option.
The Making the Band guinea pigs briefly shared chart space with their fellow Lou Pearlman-managed five-pieces, reaching the Billboard Hot 100 top 10 with the icky-titled “Liquid Dreams” and air-grabbing ballad “All or Nothing” and hitting the Billboard 200 top 10 with their eponymous debut album.
But things went south when 2002 sophomore O2 only just cracked the top 30. After being dropped by J Records a year later, the group decided to go their separate ways.
Ashley Parker Angel attempted to become the Justin Timberlake of the band with a 2006 solo album, although Soundtrack to Your Life was more moody Goo Dolls-esque emo-rock than Jacko-styled urban pop. Promoted via another behind the scenes reality show, There and Back, the LP reached No. 5 on the Billboard 200 and spawned two Hot 100 hits. But since its release, Angel has focused on his acting career, appearing on the Broadway stage as teen idol Link Larkin in Hairspray and Prince Fiyero in Wicked, and starring in straight-to-DVD efforts such as Wild Things: Foursome and Pizza Man.
Angel wasn’t the only O-Town member to pursue an acting career. Erik-Michael Estrada took center stage as Babyface in Mexican crime drama Los Lost Ones and also showed up in romantic drama Tainted Rose, action comedy The Bang Bang Brokers and the Nick Carter-penned post-apocalyptic Western Dead 7.
Trevor Penick also featured in the latter before landing supporting roles in doomed friendship drama Killing Lazarus, Alzheimer’s tale It Snows All the Time and indie comedy Chasing Sunshine. Before that he briefly reinvented himself as a solo singer under the name Tre Scott.
Elsewhere, Jacob Underwood formed a country music outfit named Jacobs Loc who released an eponymous EP in 2005, the same year that former bandmate Dan Miller also dropped a pop-rock EP titled Slower than a Gun.
More than a decade after they split, four-fifths of O-Town returned to the spotlight with a belated third album; Angel declined the invitation to join the reunion. Featuring a co-write from Ryan Tedder, Lines and Circles was followed by a slot on the nostalgic My2K tour alongside Dream and Ryan Cabrera and 2019’s crowdfunded The O.T.W.N. Album.
Da Band were the first of three groups put together by Diddy, but probably the only one required to make a five-mile trip to get the hip-hop mogul his favorite cheesecake.
Things initially started well for the six-piece hip-hop outfit – their debut album, Too Hot for TV, was only kept off the top spot by OutKast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below and “Bad Boy This, Bad Boy That” hit the Hot 100. But the group soon learned how fickle the music industry can be when their mentor decided to pull the plug on the project at the end of Making the Band 2‘s third season.
Around that time, Diddy announced plans to work with the two members he once described as the new Bonnie and Clyde, Ness and Babs. But the pair never released any material together. Instead, both went back to the battle rap underground, with the former becoming a regular on the Philadelphia scene and the latter starting her own Queen of the Ring league which has been championed by the likes of Nicki Minaj.
The youngest member of Da Band, Chopper, was briefly signed to Diddy’s Southern hip-hop offshoot Bad Boy South before reportedly moving to Cash Money Records where he reinvented himself as Young City. The MC hasn’t had the best of luck – not only did Hurricane Katrina destroy his home but he told MTV he was shot in 2012 when someone attempted to rob him.
Chopper has reportedly remained friends with former bandmate Freddy P, and the pair even talked about making a mixtape together which has yet to come to fruition. The latter has continued to release solo material, though, including 2010 mixtape Ski Mask Cash.
Dylan Dilinjah, whom Diddy apparently saved from jail by selecting him for Da Band, is the only member to drop a full-length studio solo album. After signing with Akon’s KonLive under the guise of Dylan Dili, he released Pain 2 Power in 2017.
Sara Stokes has also had several brushes with the law. The R&B singer was arrested for allegedly stabbing her husband, and then in 2014 she was sentenced to 93 days in jail after another domestic violence charge. Two years later she showed up on From the Bottom Up, the BET reality show about troubled women attempting to seek redemption. Stokes has also opened up further about her experiences with abuse in the documentary Broken Things.
The group were all set for a mini reunion tour to celebrate their 15th anniversary in 2019. But all dates were postponed and there’s no news yet of any rescheduling.
The most successful group to emerge from the Making the Band stable, girl band Danity Kane topped the Billboard 200 with both their eponymous 2006 debut album and 2008 sophomore Welcome to the Dollhouse.
But after a whole host of behind the scenes problems, including the firing of two members, the group officially called it a day in 2009. A reunion four years later produced a third LP, DK3, but more in-fighting ensured it was short-lived.
Aubrey O’Day and Shannon Bex went on to form electro-pop duo Dumblonde in 2015, reaching No. 129 on the Billboard 200 with their self-titled debut (their 2019 follow-up Bianca failed to chart). In the wake of Danity Kane’s first split, the latter also dropped an eponymous solo EP.
But it was the former who initially proved to be the band’s most notable member. After receiving her marching orders, O’Day issued her first EP Between Two Evils, appeared in romcom American High School and collaborated with Donnie Wahlberg. She also became a reality TV regular, bagging her own Oxygen show, All About Aubrey, competing on the UK version of Celebrity Big Brother and, most famously, causing all kinds of drama while placing third on The Celebrity Apprentice.
However, it’s Dawn Richard who’s got everyone talking for the right reasons. Her 2013 solo effort Goldenheart, an ambitious blend of alt-R&B, dream-pop and electronica, drew comparisons to Frank Ocean and Janelle Monae. She’s since continued to impress with 2015’s Blackheart, 2016’s Redemption and 2019’s New Breed, guested on tracks by Drake, Machinedrum and Dirty Projectors, and pursued a film career with roles in erotic thriller Kinky and Bollywood-Hollywood comedy 5 Weddings.
Following Danity Kane’s first split, Aundrea Fimbres began performing with Latin funk band Soto and executive produced J-Live Entertainment’s Next Big Thing Talent Show. Things have been a little quieter for the vocalist since the girl band’s second split, although she did pop up on former bandmate Richard’s third LP.
The only member not to take part in Danity Kane’s first reunion, D. Woods, wasted little time in forging a solo career after getting the push in 2009. She dropped her first mixtape that same year and in the early ’10s released two EPs, The Gray Area and My Favorite Color. More recently, Woods has released singles featuring guest spots from rappers Cakes da Killa and Ap tha Don.
Danity Kane (minus Woods and Fimbres) once again hit the reunion trail in 2018 with a tour which combined material from Dumblonde, Richard’s solo career and the group’s back catalog. The trio have also announced plans to record new material together.
Diddy decided to mix things up for Making the Band‘s fourth season, launching both an all-male vocal group and solo performer. The former, Day26, continued the show’s impressive album chart success, topping the Billboard 200 with their self-titled 2008 debut and reaching No. 2 with 2009 follow-up Forever In a Day.
But once again, the Making the Band curse struck before a third album hit the shelves, and the five-piece announced their split in July 2012. By this point three members, Qwanell ‘Que’ Mosley, Robert ‘Magnum’ Curry and Willie Taylor, had already released solo material, with Mike ‘Butta’ McCluney and Brian Angel following suit several years later.
Taylor went on to guest on records by Prodigy, Syleena Johnson and Jeremih and pursue an acting career with roles in the Chocolate City stripper comedies and various off-Broadway stage plays. But he’s perhaps now best known for starring alongside wife Lashanda in reality series Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood.
Curry and McCluney have also displayed their acting skills, with the former sharing the stage with Ricco Barrino in I Cheated, So What! and the latter sharing the screen with Kristinia DeBarge in Conundrum: Secrets Among Friends.
Of course, Day26 couldn’t keep apart from each other for too long. They reunited in 2014, just two years after parting company, for an EP called The Return. And in 2017 they played two shows at New York’s Highline Ballroom to celebrate their 10th anniversary.
The group have revealed they’d like to be involved in the upcoming Making the Band reboot. But Angel is one member who won’t be taking part – the singer announced his amicable departure in an Instagram post in 2018.
Donnie Klang was on the verge of giving up his music ambitions before becoming Making the Band‘s only solo performer in 2007. A year later he’d reached the Billboard 200 top 20 with his debut LP, Just a Rolling Stone, and opened for Janet Jackson.
Unsurprisingly, Klang’s tenure with Bad Boy Records didn’t last long and after a brief stint at indie Eight72 Entertainment he launched his own eponymous label. He released his first single, “Falling 4U,” through it in 2011 and followed it up with a Valentine’s Day mixtape and a Christmas track, “X-Miss.”
Although things appear to have been quiet since, Klang is still very much involved in the music industry. He’s the CEO of New York-based artist development program The Loft Sound Studio, he works as a vocal arranger and composer and in 2019 he released a single dedicated to his wife, “Remember When.”