He’s Got the Look: ‘Idol’ finalist recalls The Purple One

Singer, dancer and actor Bettis Richardson is Prince Again. (Prince Again/Submitted)

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

A  singer, dancer and actor, Bettis Richardson is bringing his triple-threat talents to the stage as Prince Again, a tribute to The Purple One.

The band comes to Casino Arizona Friday, September 30, and Saturday, October 1. 

“I had been singing Prince songs in a few other cover bands,” he says. “I was told I looked like him or sounded like him, but I never paid attention. It was just another song.

“Then I had the opportunity to dig a little further into the catalog when Nick (McDonald, guitarist/manager) approached me. I had been asked like 20 times to be in a Prince tribute band, but I thought it would be gimmicky. This one just worked.”

Born in Glen Cove, New York, Richardson was raised in South Florida by a Puerto Rican mother and a Sicilian/African American father.

Early on, he became interested in singing and dancing, and went on to choreograph school productions, cheerleaders and dancers. He opened a cheer and dance studio at age 17.

Two years later, he was a finalist on the second season of “American Idol,” which he parlayed into a singing and acting career. 

Since then, he has appeared on “Dancing with the Stars,” “Academy Awards,” “America’s Got Talent” and “The Muppets.” He made his Broadway debut in “Bring It On: The Musical.” 

Now he’s bringing it onstage as Prince. The set runs the gamut of his career. 

“We touch on the majority of his hits and do a medley of deeper cuts,” Richardson says. 

“We play a lot of fan favorites. We really go there with the vocal performances, and the music is tight. We do a lot of live renditions of our own, inspired by his live performances. Sometimes we go off a little. We try and surprise them a little bit. We want the fans to groove and remember and be nostalgic.”

McDonald, who previously worked with Meat Loaf, says he’s impressed with Richardson. 

“He’s such a phenomenal performer,” he says. “He hits the stage and he’s in it. He doesn’t give 100%, but 200%. The dance moves will knock your socks off alone.”

Prince Again

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 30, and Saturday, October 1

WHERE: Casino Arizona, 524 N. 92nd Street, Scottsdale

COST: Tickets start at $10

INFO: 480-850-7777, casinoarizona.com