“America’s Got Talent” Sends Home Alice Tan Ridley, Subway Singer and Gabourey Sidibe’s Mom
I had heard something earlier that Gabourey Sidibe’s mother was going to compete on America’s Got Talent. But I wasn’t thinking when I saw the next level of competition last week, and saw this very dark, big, middle-aged black woman in rich blue sing. I should have made the connection: she wore a blue gown just like Gabby wore at the Oscars, and the overdone silver jewelry was meant to harken back to the silver (rhinestone?) flowerlets embroidered on Sidibe’s gown.Vodpod videos no longer available.
Now I don’t always watch America’s Got Talent. I’ve grown to miss The Hof, who was fired from the show for his off-stage alcoholic antics, and the addition of Howie Mandel just seems contrived: they just needed somebody, and Mandel seems a ubiquitous hustler. But I did catch Alice Tan Ridley’s performance of “I Have Nothing,” one of the songs Whitney Houston sang in The Bodyguard, which turned out to be her last.
She has a fine voice. It’s not as fantastic as Whitney’s was in her heyday, and whose voice is just about gone now due to her own excesses. (Aretha’s weight also forces her to play around with the high and low notes, but age and bad habits like smoking generally tend to wear down a unforgettable voice.) However, Alice Ridley’s voice is still engaging and attractive, and she used few if any vocal tricks during the song. Her heart is indeed in it. Ridley needs to get out of subway stations (she’s been singing in subways for about 20 years), and into a few clubs doing soul and R&B classics, jazz, Broadway, or gospel vocals.
Even if she does a few tours in Europe for a few years. Or does Yoshi’s in San Francisco. Or even doing Tyler Perry’s musicals. Things like that. Being a working singer. She needs a voice coach, a few contracts, and a life. And she may just get it all.
The unofficial poll over at NBC showed that viewers thought Ridley was short-changed for the last dance group in the talent competition, the Studio One Young Beast Society, making the show tilt irrevocably towards youth. I agree with the results of the poll, but I think Ridley’s statement that she didn’t have much further to go, while the others should step aside and get it later, was less than gracious. She was already coming from excellence, and age this time had nothing to do with it. If she is lucky to get a good management agency, she could reasonably have up to ten, even fifteen years of accomplishment. Then she could rest on her laurels and her memories.