|Alice Tan Ridley|
|Age (at audition)||58|
Alice Tan Ridley was born in Georgia into a musical family of nine siblings, most of whom have become artists. She has been captivating audiences since she was three years old. After moving to New York in 1971, raising a family and teaching handicapped children in the NYC school system, Alice focused upon her singing career full time in 1992 when she began singing full time in the New York City subway stations – Union Square, 34th Street, and the famous 42nd Street Times Square station. Audiences gathered daily as Alice covered many songs such as ‘I Will Always Love You’, ‘I Will Survive’, ‘Billy Jean’, ‘My Heart Will Go On’, and other familiar favorites of the public. Her legendary subway performances – often stopping people dead in their tracks and rocking the station – resulted in a flurry of Youtube videos which continue to attract millions of viewers. Whenever Alice sang she consistently drew a sizable crowd, transfixed by her powerful voice, which surrounded her and fueled her with love and appreciation. She is known locally as the “New York City Subway Idol.” A 2010 feature in the New York Post described her ‘electrifying R&B act’ after the author witnessed ‘another rousing show in the Times Square underground’.
Many influential people were impressed after hearing her subway performance, which resulted in invitations to present concerts around the world, beginning with a singing tour of Morocco arranged by the Moroccan ambassador to the U.S. This was followed by performances in Argentina, Germany, Uruguay, The Netherlands, and throughout the USA. Alice’s reputation spread by word of mouth. Her appeal is confirmed by her many honors. Alice sang ‘Amazing Grace’ in Rize, the David LaChappelle film about LA street dancers. She performed a soul stirring rendition of ‘America the Beautiful’ in the film Heights in 2005. In 2002 Alice appeared on 30 Seconds to Fame, a FOX Television talent competition, and won with her soulful rendition of ‘Midnight Train to Georgia’. In 2007 Alice won an Emmy for her part in the documentary Military Families.
At a concert at the United Nations for the Women’s Group, her voice was described as an “extraordinary instrument” of healing…with resonant overtones like a Tibetan singing bowl she opens the “chakras”. She was one of the first artists to be commissioned by the MTA for their Performance in Public Spaces series after gaining a reputation as a master interpreter of popular songs with lyrical emotional depth. She embodies a rare combination of raw power, charm, sensuality, spirituality & pure funk.
In 2010, after 20 years of performing in subway stations, at the age of 58, she decided to take a leap of faith and audition for America’s Got Talent. 1
Alice Tan Ridley was one of the Judges' Favorites in the Vegas Round. She was sorted into the "Female Singers" category. Her performance in Episode 511 consisted of singing "Proud Mary." Her audition was strong enough for the judges to send her to the Quarterfinals along with Debra Romer.
Alice Tan Ridley's Quarterfinals performance in Episode 515 consisted of singing "Midnight Train to Georgia." She received enough votes to be sent to the Semifinals in Episode 516 instead of Cheer SF and Iron Horse.
Alice Tan Ridley's Semifinals performance in Episode 527 consisted of singing "I Have Nothing." She finished in either fifth or sixth place in America's Vote. Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne both did not vote for her, eliminating her from the competition in Episode 528 instead of Studio One Young Beast Society.
- Alice Tan Ridley is the mother of Oscar-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe.
- Alice won $25,000 during the pilot episode of 30 Seconds to Fame.