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Melinda Doolittle: From Backup Singer to Center Stage

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When Melinda Doolittle first appeared before the American Idol judges, she sounded like a lifelong backup singer. There was a good reason for this, however.

Melinda Doolittle has been a lifelong backup singer.

Despite showing little confidence during her audition in Memphis, though, Melinda showed off a great voice. She was unanimously passed through to Hollywood and Simon Cowell called her "one of the best singers we've had."

Melinda Doolittle: From Backup Singer to Center Stage

Such praise shouldn't come as a major surprise to anyone that knows Melinda. She was a music major in college and has taken vocal lessons ever since. In her American Idol profile, Doolittle lists Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight as major influences.We can't argue with those choices; nor can we argue with a contestant that says her pre-singing rituals are just to "pray and warm up."

Based on performances so far, viewers around the country should be prepared for a lot more from Melinda - and Melinda should be prepared to remove the backup label from herself.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Melinda, you brought tears to my eyes last evening...because you voice is amazing but your SPIRIT is much greater. I see wonderful things for you in your future. Congratualtions!

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Melinda is by far the best. Superb performance tonight - Bravo!

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in week two melinda moved to the front of the pack with a perfect performance. but hats off to stephanie edwards for looking like a million bucks and singing like a couple hundred thou.. jordan did well too, but melinda has my vote, i'm ready to cheer her all the way!

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she has been my favorite so far, when i first didn't know her name i started calling her Francine from that Arthur cartoon show.

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What a beautiful voice Melinda has. I hope we get to see and hear more of her as the show progresses. Elliott was the voice of last years show and it looks like Melinda is the special vocalist this year.
She's a natural and will be successful in the music business. . . . whether she wins this contest or not. Good luck to her.
Andy

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I think Melinda is one of the best singers this year, and is a shoe in to make the top 12, and likely a top 6 performer. I'm not sure she has the "look" of the next American Idol but I do think she has the voice.

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