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US5 were one in a long line of boy bands assembled and managed by impresario Lou Pearlman, who previously guided the careers of the Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, and O-Town. Pearlman put together the group in conjunction with the reality series Big in America, which premiered on the German television network RTL 2 in the summer of 2005. After assembling an international lineup comprised of German-born Christoph Watrin and Mikel Johnson, American-born Izzy Gallegos and Richie Stringini, and London-born Tariq Jay Khan, the show put the aspiring singers through their paces, shipping them off to an industry boot camp where they honed their talents and respective personas. With Big in America a major television success, it was inevitable that US5's debut single would generate significant media attention, and "Maria" not only topped the German charts but also entered the Top Ten in Austria and Czechoslovakia. Their 2005 debut album, Here We Go, was also a blockbuster, buoyed by the follow-up singles Just Because of You, Come Back to Me Baby, and Mama. US5 dropped their sophomore effort, In Control, in late 2006, returning to the upper reaches of the German charts via In the Club and One Night with You. Despite such success, the band was forced to put things on hold in 2007, when Pearlman's years of fraudulent investments landed him in jail.