‘America’s Got Talent’: Gabourey Sidibe’s Mom A Surprise Hit

by | June 16, 2010 at 9:13 AM | America's Got Talent, RealityTV, Recap, TV News

'Precious's Mom Alice Tan Ridley's 'Got Talent' (Photo: NBC)

'Precious's Mom Alice Tan Ridley's 'Got Talent' (Photo: NBC)


‘America’s Got Talent’ hit high notes Tuesday (the second night of the New York auditions) with a round of unpredictable choices and ho-hum winners — minus a standout magic act and the electrifying singing from Alice Tan Ridley, the mother of ‘Precious‘ star, Gabourey Sidibe.

What happened to the ‘Talent’ acts that would blow me away? Take the cutesy 10-year-old Nina and her dance crew, who pulled off a polished routine but were devastatingly sent home. What are we coming to, people? Sharon Osbourne, who is usually super-understanding to the borderline acts, did that little girl a big disservice — and probably encouraged deep feelings of insecurity that will last for a lifetime. I hope you are happy, Sharon. What an injustice.

Gabourey Sidibe’s mom, Tan Ridley, had a star-making turn of her own, showing off singing skills previously reserved for the subway in New York. After Sidibe shined during Oscar season with her Best Actress nomination for ‘Precious,’ Gabourey’s mom didn’t ride her daughter’s coattails onstage, although was asked by Nick Cannon about the connection in preshow interviews. Singing Etta James’ ‘At Last,’ Alice took hold of the crowd immediately. At 58, she seemed to have been doing it for a lifetime. We will see how far she goes!

Watch Gabourey Sidibe’s Mom Alice Tan Ridley Blow Them Away ‘At Last’

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But the best act of the night went to Michael Grosso. He and his assistant simultaneously switched places behind a curtain, baffling the crowd and creating a fun ‘wow’ moment of magic that wasn’t boring. It made everyone rubbed their eyes. For seasoned magicians at home watching, they may get it — but almost everyone in person couldn’t figure it out — ah, the basis of good magic. The guy did have a tremendous cool factor, as Sharon said, but face it, he was no David Blaine. As Nick Cannon said, the man and woman are probably the same person.

Mary Ellen, the 74-year-old singing with the keyboard and wacky charm, was atrocious. She belongs in an airport cocktail lounge and doesn’t have a lot of charm. Howie’s off-kilter approval is one thing, but for Sharon to sign off on her excessive badness is ridiculous. Mary Ellen had an audience reaction similar to the stand-up comedian from last week, the jokester who lost the audience early on but brought them back around due to his sheer unwillingness to give up. Mary Ellen is a Frankenstein-like competitor: She has no singing ability and a shrill warble, in addition to being able to yodel. All the judges laughed, yet she made it the next round.

Strongest neck muscles of the night go to Rudi Macaggi, 43, who balanced on his head, on top of a basketball, and wine glasses. He gets credit for selling his act to the audience before he did the trick, saying worst-case scenario, he could split his head open and blood would spill all over the stage. And he had tattoos on his lower eyelids. He really wants it a lot.

The Spangles Dance Company has a lot of serious potential, in the tradition of the Fab Five ladies’ dance troupe from last year. They made it all the way to the finals. Because Spangles has a crowd-friendly 1980s pop soundtrack, they are versatile dancers and could end up going a long way if they keep their act fresh.

Please, an official ban to yo-yo acts. I know jumping rope with a yo-yo is pretty exciting, but I have had enough of it for a lifetime. (Even though 20-year-old Eric Koslowki made it through to the next round.)

Pint-sized 12-year-old dancers Anna and Patryck are cute and all, but they don’t have the cuteness and precision to go very far. No offense, tiny dancers.


Watch Tuesday night’s episode of ‘America’s Got Talent’ Now

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What do you think? Were the wrong people sent home? Who was your favorite?