Melinda, You’re Still Our No. 1

In the end, Melinda Doolittle’s superior singing abilities were no match for Jordin Sparks’ adorability factor or Blake Lewis’ showmanship in the “American Idol” competition.

Doolittle consistently came through on the vocals, but never quite captured the hearts of “American Idol” voters the way Sparks and Lewis did. Sparks’ vocals kept getting better and better each week, but what keeps her in the game _ and makes her the favorite to win the whole thing _ is that she simply looks and acts like a young teen idol.

From the beginning, the women kept outshining their male counterparts in the competition until Lewis started bringing on his A game. While Doolittle depended on her pipes to get her through, Lewis kept putting his own spin on each song. Last night, he really pull out all beats for a stellar night. He stole the show with “This Love” and brought it home with “When I Get You Alone.”

Simon Cowell chided Sparks for choosing the old tune “I Who Have Nothing,” but it was Doolittle who came off looking old fashioned with the pop tune-turned-ad “I’m A Woman” and wearing a dated pants suit.

Doolittle should be quickly snatched up by a record label, so we won’t shed any tears for her. And we look forward to the Lewis-Sparks showdown next week.

American Idol is down to two contestants? Will it be the very sweet Jordin Sparks or beat-boxer Blake Lewis? I give my take, along with Mercury News news reporter Sandra Gonzales and Contra Costa Times TV critic Chuck Barney.

We discuss Melinda Doolittle leaving the show, the judges, the fans, and give their own predictions for the winner. Mercury News music writer Marian Liu moderates.
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