American Idol: Was Melinda’s elimination really that surprising?

  • May 17, 2007
  • Buddy TV

This morning, the general consensus on these here internets seems to be that Melinda Doolittle’s elimination from American Idol was a “shocker”, or “completely unexpected”, or even an “unjust abomination of galactic proportions”.  Of course, media outlets want people to read their articles, so expressing dismay and surprise over the Idol result is understandable, but true outrage is a bit misguided in this situation.

There are a lot of Malinda Doolittle fans out there, and rightly so.  Melinda was the best pure vocalist on American Idol this season and was one of the best to ever grace the Idol stage.  She was versatile, incredibly consistent, and exceedingly likable.  Her fans can’t understand how this happened, how the best singer could be eliminated after seeming destined to reach the finals since early in the season.  Well, actually, it’s pretty simple.

The coverage this morning acts like this result was totally unexpected.  It absolutely wasn’t.  Here is what happened (predicted correctly by us here): Melinda is a similar singer to Jordin Sparks.  No, it’s not because they’re both African-American women.  It is because they have similar musical sensibilities, both preferring old-fashioned songs and performances to anything modern.  They are both at home with slower ballads, usually not venturing into anything too upbeat. 

Blake Lewis, on the other hand, is on the completely different end of the spectrum.  Say what you will about Blake, but he is different from those two ladies, and that is the simple reason why he made it to the final two.  Melinda and Jordin split a significant portion of the votes, and that catapulted Blake into the finals. 

See also 'American Idol' Roundup: Scotty McCreery to 'Hart of Dixie', And Special Treatment for Jim Carrey's Kid?

So, it really just came down to a competition between Jordin and Melinda.  Jordin is young and inexperience, lacking the polish that Melinda possesses, but has managed to connect to the audience in a way Melinda never seemed to.  She’s not a better singer than Melinda, but her peak moments felt a little higher than Melinda’s.

Can we stop pretending that this was as big a shock as Daughtry going home?  Melinda Doolittle probably deserved to stay, but that’s just not the way American Idol works.

-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer

(Image Courtesy of MSNBC)

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