Reacher’s Alan Ritchson on How American Idol Failure Launched His Acting Career 

Alan Ritchson is best known for his role as Jack Reacher on the hit show Reacher. Because of his physical prowess and stoic persona, it can be hard to imagine a world where Ritchson does not star as Lee Child’s iconic protagonist. However, acting was not Ritchson’s first career choice. Ritchson initially tried to make it as a singer and looked to American Idol as his way into the business.

How did American Idol Launch Alan Ritchson’s Acting Career?

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Ritchson spoke about his initial attempts to work as a model in Miami in the early 2000s. After three years, Ritchson “didn’t find modeling satisfying,” so he pivoted to singing. Enter American Idol.

“In 2003, the show (American Idol) announced it would hold auditions in Atlanta for Season 3,” Ritchson said.

Ritchson auditioned for the third season of American Idol and impressed the judges in his first audition, earning a ticket to the next round in California. Ritchson did not progress much farther on the show. However, his admiration for Hollywood spawned a new career path: acting.

“I made it to the second round in Los Angeles,” Ritchson said. “Even though I was cut, I was enamored of the passion people had there for their art. I decided to stay, and landed TV commercials and auditions.”

In 2005, Ritchson appeared in The Butcher, a horror film he described as his “first break.” The Butcher led to a role in Smallville from 2005-2010, which “opened the door” for Ritchson’s career. A decade after Smallville ended, Ritchson was cast in Reacher, which has taken his career to new heights.

Reacher Season 2 is currently airing on Amazon’s Prime Video. After airing the first three episodes of Season 2, Reacher became the No. 1 title of the year for Prime Video. The first four episodes of Season 2 are now available to stream. Reacher Season 2 Episode 5 premieres December 29, 2023.