As long as I'm tying up loose ends, I'll comment on the mind-boggling fact that Melinda Doolittle was thrown off American Idol while Blake Lewis remained. (Of course, by now, we all know that effervescent, personable, and precocious Jordin Sparks is the new Idol. Don't we? Criminy, I sure hope so!)
I have seen it asserted that there is fine print extant in which the producers of the show note that they are guided but not bound by the vote totals, although I hasten to add that I have not seen this myself. So either the producers thought that having an African-American woman and a biracial woman (both of whom deserved to win) face off in the final round would cost them viewers, or the demographics of the population that votes is radically skewed in favor of white teenage girls 16 and under, and that subset bloc-voted for Lewis. Lewis is innocuous and entertaining, but his singing is totally undistinguished. His claim to fame is making explosive rhythmic noises with his mouth. All fine and good, but it's not singing.
If, by this time, you've decided that I've taken leave of my senses, please bear with me. I had never paid that much attention to the show before this season. It seemed to offer a choice among "sensitive" men, ersatz cornpone, and Stepford Sopranos. However, when I lucked into hearing Melinda Doolittle sing Lorenz Hart's and Richard Rodgers' (not Chet Baker's, as some sources claim) "My Funny Valentine," I was not only hooked, I was voting. I tell people that Doolittle appears to be every pastor's dream youth-group leader. Indeed, she is an alumna of Belmont College in Nashville, a fine music school whose visiting-artist series afforded me opportunities to hear some world-class music during my Nashville days.
Melinda Doolittle has the makings of a first-class interpreter of the Great American Songbook. If you doubt me, just go to www.youtube.com
and search for Melinda Doolittle + My Funny Valentine. It's all there: pitch security, tone color, phrase-shaping, intelligence, emotional resonance, joie de vivre, and style—genuine style, not clacking around in mommy's high heels. What a gift. So now I have to go online and buy a "DON'T BLAME ME, I VOTED FOR DOOLITTLE" bumper sticker.
Why don't we all pool our funds and get Melinda Doolittle into a quiet but acoustically live space with an orchestra, some old ribbon microphones, 30ips two-channel analog tape, and a stack of pre-1960 sheet music? To quote another from the Great American Songbook, "I can dream, can't I?" source: stereophile.com