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Melinda Marie Doolittle (born October 6, 1977) is an Americanmarker singer who finished as the third place finalist on the sixth season of American Idol. Prior to her appearance on American Idol, Doolittle worked as a professional back-up singer for, among others, Michael McDonald, Kirk Franklin, Aaron Neville, BeBe and CeCe Winans, Alabama, Jonny Lang, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, and Anointed.

Personal life

Doolittle was born in St. Louismarker, Missourimarker to Steve and Marguerite Duke Doolittle but considers Brentwoodmarker, Tennesseemarker to be home; her Homecoming was held there after she made the Top 3 on American Idol season 6.She graduated from Union High School in Tulsamarker, Oklahomamarker, in 1995. Although she has been singing since the seventh grade, her professional career did not begin until 1999. She was a music major at Belmont Universitymarker. Since college, her vocal instruction has been provided by Janet Kenyon.

American Idol


Doolittle first auditioned for American Idol in Memphis, Tennessee. She went down to Memphis with some friends who were auditioning and decided to audition for fun. She sang the song "For Once in My Life", which was popularized by one of her favorite artists, Stevie Wonder. Her audition received positive feedback from all three judges, although they expressed concern about the nerves she had exhibited and told her to believe in herself.


Doolittle managed to secure herself a spot in the Top 24, who all performed on national television. During her first broadcast performance, Doolittle was highly praised for her rendition of "Sweet Sweet Baby ", by Aretha Franklin. The following week, Doolittle pulled off another winning performance with the song "My Funny Valentine". According to the judges, it was "without question the best vocal of the night.", and it ranked #3 in AOL Top 20 Idol Performances. Simon called the performance "incredible" and Paula called it "just astounding...You phrased that song so beautifully, so differently...I applaud you." For her last semifinal performance, Doolittle performed the song "I'm a Woman", causing Simon Cowell to call her "a little tiger," continuing: "I thought we had a pussycat." On March 8, 2007, Doolittle made it into the show's Top 12.

American Idol performances

Week # Theme # Song choice Original artist Order # Result
Top 24 (12 Women) N/A " Since You've Been Gone" Aretha Franklin 9 Safe
Top 20 (10 Women) N/A "My Funny Valentine" Chet Baker/Frank Sinatra 4 Safe
Top 16 (8 Women) N/A "I'm a Woman" Peggy Lee/Maria Muldaur 8 Safe
Top 12 Diana Ross "Home" Diana Ross 2 Safe
Top 11 British Invasion "As Long As He Needs Me" Shirley Bassey 11 Safe
Top 10 No Doubt/Artist who inspire Gwen Stefani "Heaven Knows" Donna Summer 7 Safe
Top 9 American Classics "I Got Rhythm" Peggy Lee/Maria Muldaur 3 Safe
Top 3
Top 8 Latin "Sway" Dean Martin 1 Safe
Top 7 Country "Trouble Is A Woman" Julie Reeves 6 Safe
Top 6 Inspirational "There Will Come A Day" Faith Hill 2 Safe
(Non-Elimination Week)
Top 6 Bon Jovi "Have A Nice Day" Bon Jovi 6 Safe
Top 4 Barry Gibb "Love You Inside Out"
"How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?"
Bee Gees 1
Top 3 Judge's Choice (Randy Jackson)
Producers' Choice
Contestant's Choice

"I Believe in You and Me"
"Nutbush City Limits"
"I'm a Woman"

Whitney Houston
Tina Turner

Peggy Lee/Maria Muldaur



Two days after the American Idol Season Finale, Doolittle appeared alongside the other nine top ten contestants on Larry King Live. In an exclusive interview with Good Morning America, Simon Cowell stated that the season six title of American Idol should have rightfully gone to Doolittle.

Doolittle was part of the 2007 American Idols tour, along with her fellow top 10 contestants. Her performances included "Proud Mary", which she sang as a duet with Sanjaya Malakar (joked by many critics to compare 'the best and the worst' of Season 6), a Supremes tribute with LaKisha Jones, and a solo rendition of " A Natural Woman".

Writer Stephen Holden of The New York Times described Doolittle as a "phenomenally gifted, stylistically adroit [...] Gladys Knight-Tina Turner hybrid [who] brings a compelling honesty to every phrase she sings," and predicted a successful post-Idol career for her.

Doolittle sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Game 5 of the 2007 NBA Eastern Conference Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons.

She was part of the Michael W. Smith and friends Caribbean Cruise in July 2008 as a guest performer, and joined him on his Christmas tour the same year. She is featured with Smith on the song "Amazing Love" on the soundtrack to Billy: The Early Years.

She has participated in several episodes of a BlogTalkRadio web show called "Moments With Melinda" where fans can call and talk to her. Doolittle also contributed to the book Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul.

Her first single, "My Funny Valentine", was released by Sony BMG in February 2008 through iTunes and Amazon MP3 Downloads. Doolittle stated that she planned to work on a CD of "soul music"; it was announced in July 2008 that she had signed with the independent label Hi Fi Recordings, which released her debut CD, Coming Back to You, on February 3, 2009. In its first month, the CD sold over 30,000 copies.


Melinda Doolittle and Laura Bush are greeted by a chorus of singers at the Mututa Memorial Center on June 28, 2007.

In June 2007, Doolittle visited Zambiamarker with Laura Bush and the Malaria No More organization to distribute life-saving bed nets and raise awareness. As part of the trip, she performed with a praise band at the Miracle Life Family Church in Lusakamarker.

On November 3, 2007, Nicole Lapin interviewed Doolittle for CNN's Young People Who Rock series. In the interview she refers to her support for the Malaria No More campaign and how donating bed nets can help to eradicate malaria from the African continent. She specifically mentions her supportive fans who have donated bed nets on her behalf at each of the 59 venues of the American Idol tour and who also made a large donation on her birthday.



Year Title Chart positions
US US R&B/Hip-Hop US Independent
2007 Melinda Doolittle

  • Released: June 12, 2007
  • Label: 19 Entertainment

2009 Coming Back to You

  • Released: February 3, 2009
  • Label: HiFi Recordings

58 39 3


Date Single Peak chart positions
February 12, 2008 "My Funny Valentine" - -
November 11, 2008 "It's Your Love" - 29


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