For the past few weeks I've had difficulty deciding which of the three contestants is my favorite, and I've spent a bit of time pondering the issue of which two contestants I would like to see duke it out in the finale next week. In my mind, it was never a question that one of those individuals would be Melinda Doolittle. Since her very first audition, her unwaveringly powerful, rich, soulful voice and humble demeanor have made her a frontrunner all along the way, and it seemed unfathomable that she wouldn't be one of the last two standing.
Until tonight. America, what have you done??
Don't get me wrong, Jordin and Blake are both great, and it should be an exciting finale next week, with two very different performers. And while it would seem that Jordin has the edge going in, I'm betting Blake is going to put up quite a fight.
But back to Melinda. She was the class of the competition, the "seasoned pro" who never missed a beat. With "Since You Been Gone," "My Funny Valentine," "I'm a Woman," "Home," "I've Got Rhythm," "Have a Nice Day," and "Nutbush City Limits" she contributed several of the season's very best performances. Melinda, we'll miss you next week.
And can I just say, take an hour of our time, sure, if you fill it with entertaining hometown videos and performances from the likes of Elliott Yamin and Maroon 5, but please, make sure there is enough time to give a champ like Melinda the send-off she deserves. It should not be rushed into the last 5 minutes of the show. Come on, guys, show some respect.
Back to those hometown visits -- I just love them. They give us just a bit more information on these people we've been obsessing over for the past few months. I mean, think about it -- how much do you actually know about Jordin, aside from the fact that she is young and from Arizona? Or Blake, other than that he is a beatboxing Washingtonian? In the first couple of seasons on the show the Top 12 episodes featured lengthy bio pieces on the contestants, and it helped give us a slightly better sense of who these people are. I wish the show had continued to do that.
Anyways, I loved the hometown videos -- I was reminded that Jordin really is a 17 year old girl (her teary embrace with her best friend was adorable), that Blake is positively oozing personality and is a very loving son, and that Melinda's humility comes from a very genuine place. I even shed a tear during one or two of the videos, watching how much this show has changed these kids' lives. I'm a sap, sue me.
And Elliott Yamin! Woo hoo! With his new hair and teeth he's giving Chris and Blake a run for their money in the cute boy category (well, not quite, but he can sure sing better than both of them!) I kinda wish he had kept his eyes open a little more during "Wait for You," his current hit single, but I sure hope he sells lots of records after this appearance. And Elliott, whose single is currently in the Top 30 on the pop chart, is a reminder that even though she may have been eliminated tonight, Melinda can and most likely will have quite a career ahead of her.
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Wednesday, May 16, 2007