The mother of Oscar-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe sailed through to the America’s Got Talent semi-finals after impressing the judges’ panel with a passionate rendition of Etta James’ “At Last” on the second day of Season 5 auditions in New York City.

Harlem’s Alice Tan Ridley is a former teacher’s aide and Off-Broadway performer, who now earns her living belting out hits in subway stations across Manhattan.

“I’ve been singing since I was young and now I’m singing underground in the subway stations,” she explained, before taking the stage. “I love singing in the subway and to see the smiles on people’s faces. This is what I’ve been pursuing all my life. Maybe this is it, from the subway to the big stage!”

Judges Piers Morgan, Howie Mandel, and Sharon Osbourne later said that it was her “honor” to send Ridley to Las Vegas.

“Millions of people must have gone back and forth on that subway. How come nobody signed you!” a floored Sharon inquired.



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