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Belmont 'Idol' movin' on up

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Photo Courtesy of American Idol
Melinda Doolittle, a Belmont grad, is in the Top 20 American Idol finalists in the show's sixth season.

Eight years ago, Melinda Doolittle was just another commercial music major at Belmont, heading “from here to anywhere.” Today she is one of the top 20 contestants vying to be the next “American Idol.” The sixth season is airing and she is in her 5th week of competition. Doolittle will need to advance through two more rounds – the top 10 women compete Wednesday night – competing in themed performances like country music, musical theater, and hits of the 21st century to become one of the top 12 finalists.

Since the 7th grade, singing has been the one talent Doolittle knows best. She has perfect pitch and impeccable vocal quality. According to Jeffrey Kirk, music coordinator and director of events administration at Belmont, not only was she an incredible singer, but she had an infectious personality.

He said, at Doolittle’s audition for the commercial music showcase, that he immediately noticed that she had a unique voice, special talent and stage presence.

“She has honed her craft,” Kirk said. “The honesty in her face ... She comes across not as though someone trained her to look a certain way. It was easy to tell she had a very special talent.”

Following her studies at Belmont, Doolittle went on to be a successful background vocalist, working with artists like The Winans, Michael McDonald, Anointed and Mandisa, but her dreams did not stop there.
“Actually, a friend of mine was going to the audition and he invited me to go along because I quite enjoy the funny singing,” Doolittle said in an interview with the Tennessean. "We thought you had to audition in order to watch everything, so we did. We thought it would be fun. I had no idea I would make it to this point. I am so excited!”

From day one, Doolittle has left a huge impression on the judges, especially the notoriously hard-to-please Simon Cowell.

“Seriously, you are what it’s all about, a great voice. Let me tell you, you are in the top 2 percent of good singers this year. One million percent yes.”

Many faculty members think Doolittle has been a great representative and role model for Belmont both publicly and on campus. She comes to Belmont every year to judge the commercial showcase, attends recitals, and verbally attributes much of her success to Belmont.

“Melinda is a wonderful ambassador for Belmont,” Kirk said.

In an interview with Fox 17, Doolittle said she would like to use American Idol to take the next step in her career.

“I want to be the next American Idol because I feel it’s time for some of us background singers to represent and show that we can step out front and still handle ourselves.”



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