Is Alice Tan Ridley ‘America’s Got Talent’s New Frontrunner?

Alice Tan Ridley (NBC)

Alice Tan Ridley (NBC)

It’s a singing year on ‘America’s Got Talent,’ which is currently sending most of its acts home during the quarterfinals round, judges say.

Sixteen acts are being picked from the top 48 in Hollywood — half of them have been selected already — and those Sweet 16 will compete starting Aug. 10 for the $1 million prize and Vegas show offer, crowned in September. At this point, nearly all of remaining and departing acts are especially talented, and are leaving at the hands of viewer votes (or in the case of each night’s fourth act, at the choice of judges Sharon Osbourne, Howie Mandel, and Piers Morgan).

With the first half of the semifinal acts already selected, the picture is becoming clearer for this season’s winner. It looks increasingly like that could be Alice Tan Ridley, the 50-something throaty soul singer from New York who is also ‘Precious’ Oscar nominee Gabourey Sidibe’s mother.

Ridley was voted through on Wednesday’s ‘America’s Got Talent,’ and will be joined by other advancing acts including artsy dancers AscenDance, popular singer Michael Grimm, pint-sized break-dancers Future Funk, and glow-in-the-dark performers Fighting Gravity.

Acts sent home Wednesday included “Strong Man” John Beatty, high-energy dance troupe Wreckless, cheer-leading dancers Cheer SF, opera singer Hannibal Means, and “so bad he’s good” impressionist Ronith.

Watch Alice Tan Ridley Belt It Out:

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Crowd-favorite consensus may be emerging in that this is the year for singers on ‘AGT.’ Other creative acts are strong, but the singers may be the ones who get the votes.

“I would actually say that the singers on ‘America’s Got Talent’ are better than the last season of ‘[American] Idol,'” Morgan told Fancast after Wednesday’s taping of ‘America’s Got Talent’ in Hollywood. “That shows you how far this competition has come. I have said from the start, I could tell from the auditions that the singing this year was really strong. I think Alice and [singer] Michael [Grimm] are two of the best singers we have ever had on the show. I know there are two or three more coming are also really good. I think this is the best year for singers we have had.”

One big fan of Ridley is working mom Sharon Osbourne.

“I love Fighting Gravity and Alice,” Osbourne tells Fancast. “I said to [Alice]: She brought up her family, and now it’s her time. I can relate to her. We are exactly the same age. Now, it’s all about Alice. I’m sure she’s ready to handle success at the age that she’s at. I think it’s brilliant that someone of her age can have a chance [and] have a whole new life.”

Ridley has won much fanfare, as has Michael Grimm, who Mandel prefers as a vocal favorite (though hedges his bet when picking a winner).

“If you ask me who my favorite singer or voice is, it is Michael,” Mandel said. “If you ask me who’s the most unique or has the chance of a Vegas show, to win this or not, it is Fighting Gravity. But, also not to diminish AscenDance, which is unique and exciting.”

Quarterfinals continue next Tuesday, July 27, on NBC.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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