'Idol' star performs at Gilbert home
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 6, 2008 01:05 PM
It's been quite the journey for American Idol finalist Melinda Doolittle, who finished third overall in last year's competition.
With a new album scheduled to come out in June, the former professional back-up singer from Brentwood, Tenn., says she is happy to keep on singing.
Gilbert fans got a taste of the American Idol star Wednesday as Doolittle visited Bashas'on Val Vista and Queen Creek roads, where she signed autographs and posed for the camera as part of Dreyer's Slow-Churned Light Ice Cream American Idol Tour.
"I am very excited about meeting fans," Doolittle said. "I just want to say thank you to everyone. Traveling and touring with American Idol is fun and worth it."
The tour is part of a promotion on the Idol Web site that allows fans to vote for their five favorite ice cream flavors, with a chance to win an in-home ice cream party for 25 people with Melinda performing live.
Kari Maschino, a 35-year-old mother of two, was selected Wednesday as a winner of the concert with Doolittle that evening in her parent's Gilbert home.
"It was a great experience," said Maschino. "We had four generations of my family watching it. She was our favorite contestant last year."
Maschino said Doolittle performed three songs, including My Funny Valentine, Home and I Am a Woman, and watched American Idol live with her family and guests after the concert.
"It was one thing that she was standing right there in the living room, but it's also one of those things that you're going to remember forever."
A conversation with Melissa Doolittle
Question: How did your journey to American Idol start?
Answer: friend of mine from Memphis wanted to audition, so the four of us drove to Memphis. I ended up being the only one who made it out of my friends. They have been extremely supportive. They were awesome. They were like, 'you got on the show!' I was very excited to make it to the top three. My two best friends, Kelley and Janet travel with me often helping me with hair and make-up, wardrobe and being there for support. I call Kelley 'my binky!'
Q: What is the most important lesson you learned after being on the show?
A: The biggest thing I have learned is that it's OK to be afraid. It's what you do with that fear. I was petrified every week, but getting up there every week in the midst, knowing that I could to this. It was a great experience. Another thing I learned about being on the show is finding my voice. It was great and boosted my confidence level. I still get nervous, (when I perform), but I think it's kind of cool because it keeps you on your toes.
Q: Was Simon Cowell's bark bigger than his bite?
A: I love Simon. He was very kind and sweet to me. He was also dead honest. He didn't really use a filter. He wanted to encourage you to light a fire under you.
Q: What are some things most people don't know about you?
A: I love playing the Wii. My favorite games are boxing and air hockey. I like anything with sweet potatoes or apple pie!
Q: What has life been like after Idol? How has it changed your life?
A: I've been able to do a lot of cool things after Idol. It was amazing. Last June, I got to go to Zambia with Laura Bush and the Malaria No More organization to distribute life-saving bed nets and help raise awareness. I got to learn first-hand how a million people die each year and it opened my eyes up to malaria. I also go to sing at the Secretary of State Colin Powell. It was an awesome time.
Q: What's your advice to aspiring singers?
A: Song selection is key. Find a song that you can tell a story with and leave it out there on the stage.
Q: What are your career goals for the future?
A: The biggest thing is to continue singing. I am working on an album set to release in June. Things are going really well. Johnny Lang (Melinda's Idol) got to work with me on it. He came to Nashville to help me work on it. We are still deciding songs for it, but a digital release of My Funny Valentine was released before Valentine's Day on itunes.com and on Amazon.com. I had fun doing that and I was excited. I would like to help out with organizations like Malaria No More and The League, with the secretary of Education and in schools, to help teach kids about community service. If I can continue to be a part of more causes that make a difference, and as long as I can keep singing, I am very happy.