Musically, no idle threat
Pop diva visits El Dorado Hills
By Roger Phelps, The Telegraph
Melinda Doolittle, of American Idol fame, stops by a local Raley's as part of the Dreyer's Idol Ice Cream Tour.
Ice cream social, sunshine, celebrity -- it was an American idyll.
Around 120 teens basked in the aura of pop star Melinda Doolittle Wednesday in El Dorado Hills.
Although she did not sing until later at a private party, Doolittle at the local Raley's bestowed her charm, her husky alto voice and her autograph on young fans.
"I saw her on 'American Idol,'" said Rachel Smeltzer, 13, of Shingle Springs. "She's really good."
As the diva's limo-SUV hybrid slid into the area of Raley's around 3:30 p.m., Doolittle, 30, rolled down her rear-seat window and showed genuine warmth to a stranger.
"I'm from Nashville," she said.
Doolittle said it could have been any of a dozen tunes that led to her being a finalist in last year's "American Idol" TV-show judging. But, she said, she's sure she came through at her best covering "For Once In My Life (I've Found Someone Who Needs Me)," popularized by Stevie Wonder.
"I think the judges enjoyed that," Doolittle said.
Doolittle allowed as how proof came to her early in her life that she had the voice and the skills.
"I sang backup for eight years in the studios in Nashville," she said.
Teens and a smattering of parent-fans lined up dutifully and peacefully outside the store. No raving, no rioting -- although free ice cream from the Dreyer's company probably helped there -- just a bubbly "Eeeeeeh! Eeeyahh!" as the star made her entrance.
Fan Kiara Rodriguez, 13, said she couldn't name the Doolittle performance that won her over with last year's show, but said it was "a jazz tune."
Calvin Cooke, 19, of El Dorado Hills said that for him, it was the singer's cover of "I'm a Woman (W-O-M-A-N)," popularized by Maria Muldaur.
The event was Doolittle's sole public appearance in northern California, said Amy Johnston of Raley's communications department.
"Last year we had Ace Young at the Bel-Air on East Natoma in Folsom," Johnston said. "He was a (TV) finalist, too. A huge draw. It was so well-received, we thought why not bring it to El Dorado Hills?"
The event was part of a nationwide string of appearances Doolittle is making on her Dreyer's Idol Ice Cream Tour.
The Telegraph’s Roger Phelps can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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