Over the last three seasons, Empire has turned real-life superstars into the fictional superstars running around Empire Entertainment. Tiana is an early version of Rihanna. Skye Summers is, well, Alicia Keys at her most pop-friendly. And now we have Rumer Willis’s Tory Ash as the made-for-TV Amy Winehouse.
The Dancing With The Stars champ’s character made her scripted TV debut in last night’s season 3 spring premiere and we couldn’t help but see her as an alternate reality Amy. Tory seems to be the British accent-and-beehive free dream version of the "Rehab" singer if she had gotten the dire help she needed and never overdosed in 2011.
When we meet Tory, she literally just pops up in front of the Lyons as they’re waiting to see Jamal (Jussie Smollett) for the first time since he entered rehab. Everyone is shocked to see her at the treatment facility since the singer "disappeared" after stripping naked during a performance at Fenway Park. It’s rumored she was then found in a coma at a motel and promptly whisked away to get help.
Those details mean Tory could’ve been inspired by any unfortunate celebrity undoing, but then the Lyons stress Willis’s new alter ego is a heroin addict and a serious musical genius. Although the insanely talented Amy’s official cause of death was essentially alcohol poisoning, multiple sources claim the "Back To Black" musician was addicted to heroin as well.
The timeline between Tory and Amy is also hauntingly similar. After Tory’s onstage meltdown, she was soon found in a coma and then went to rehab. Amy, on the other hand, had an onstage meltdown during a June 2011 show. She tragically died only a few weeks later after not getting treatment.
If all of this isn’t enough, Tory’s actual singing style uses the same the same bluesy-jazz tones that were Amy's signature before her death. While listening to Jamal’s downbeat first collaboration with Tory, "Simple Song," it’s clear Amy would’ve shone on a similar track.
With Tory scheduled to appear in next week's "Play On," we'll see if this theory continues to hold up.