When Alice Tan Ridley arrived to audition for “America’s Got Talent,” host Nick Cannon recognized her. “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” he asked.
Yes, he did. Ridley is the mother of “Precious” star (and all-around awesome chick) Gabourey Sidibe.
In fact, before Sidibe was attached to the role of “Precious,” Ridley was considered for the role of Precious’ mother, which ultimately won Mo’Nique a Best Supporting Actress Oscar.
“My daughter is a big star but I’m still pursuing my dream which is to become a great singer,” Ridley says. Unlike her daughter, who has hosted “Saturday Night Live” and who will star in the new Showtime series “The Big C” this fall, Ridley never got her big break.
“I’ve been singing since I was young. Now I am singing underground, in the subway stations. I love singing in the subway. I love to see the smiles on peoples’ faces. This is what I’ve been pursuing all my life. Maybe this is it, from the subway to the big stage.”
With that kind of passion and dedication, she couldn’t be denied. Ridley blew the judges away with her rendition of “At Last,” which was so powerful that Sharon Osbourne bowed down to her.
“Millions of people must’ve gone back and forth on that subway over the 20 years,” Osbourne boggled. “How come nobody signed you?”
Howie Mandel agreed. “You deserve to be heard by much more than everybody on the trains. You are wonderful.” Even Piers Morgan said, “In terms of raw talent, best audition of the day.”
After the three “yes” votes were counted, Osbourne announced, “It’s my honor to say you’re going to Vegas.” Like the judges, we were blown away by her audition, but even more impressive are the videos of Ridley singing in subway stations. She belts it out impeccably even while she’s busy handing out fliers.
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