Melinda Doolittle critiques the ‘American Idol’ Top 13 for HitFix

Editor’s Note: Season 6 favorite Melinda Doolittle is one of the experts in HitFix’s Fantasy American Idol game and throughout the competition, she’ll be providing analysis on this season’s contenders.

This was the first week they got to work with the producers and that definitely added a different dynamic. Here”s my order for this week. What do you think?

Casey Abrams – “With A Little Help From My Friends”

We all know how I feel about Casey. I was seriously waiting for him to sing a Joe Cocker song! I think he nailed it! I did notice that they”re bringing out the choir background singers early this year. I”m not complaining though. They were the icing on the cake for me.


Pia Toscano – “All By Myself”

I was so nervous about this song choice. I absolutely love Celine”s version and the only other person I”ve loved singing it was Gina Glocksen from Season 6. However, Pia sang the snot out of it! The key change wasn”t my favorite part, but she almost made me forget it with the way she ended. This girl can sing!


Paul McDonald – “Come Pick Me Up”           

I love his quirkiness, and I”m just assuming I”m gonna have to get used to the fact that he likes to talk to the audience before he starts singing. :-) He”s so talented and I loved this Ryan Adams tune. I also love the fact that it made Ryan trend on Twitter. I do feel like the song got away from him a couple times, but he”s so much fun to watch.


James Durbin – “Maybe I”m Amazed”

This was my favorite performance of his this season. I loved his tone and delivery. His voice has so much character to it and I love his control over it tonight!


Stefano Langone – “Lately”

Love this Stevie Wonder song and love Stefano, but I have to admit, the beginning of this song made me nervous. It took him a minute to settle in to it. Once he did, though, it was great! I liked the dance remix because it immediately made me stop comparing him to Stevie. He absolutely nailed the ending. His voice is amazing!


Naima Adedapo – “Umbrella”

This girl is fearless and I love it! Yes, she had pitch issues. It seemed like she was so caught up in the performance that she lost her center, but I know she will get better with time and that excites me. LOVED the Reggae section! That was             hot.


Scotty McCreery – “The River”

What can I say? He”s a great country singer. I”m so interested to see what he does in the coming weeks. I hope that with the new format, he”ll be able to stay in his lane but maybe stretch just a little bit and show us something fresh.


Jacob Lusk – “I Believe I Can Fly”

I forgot how much I loved this song. I know it was overplayed for a while, but I haven”t heard it in years, so it made me happy. It seemed like Jacob got completely lost at the key change, but I really think he just couldn”t hear what was going on around him. Once he locked in on the key, he rocked the end of that song! Wow! His range is crazy!!!!


Lauren Alaina – “Any Man Of Mine”

This song choice has not done well on Idol. Season 5, my girl Mandisa was voted off after singing it (even though she shouldn”t have been) and in Season 9, Siobhan was voted off the week she sang it. Do I think Lauren is going anywhere? Nope! She has a really strong following. I definitely would have like to see more spunk from her, but she sang it well. I know it”s hard for a 16 year old to  accept a critique like that, but I hope she uses it in the weeks to come.


Thia Megia – “Smile”

Awww…she”s way too young to know who Charlie Chaplin is. That”s cute. I loved the first part of the song. I”m not sure about the beat that came in for the second half. I know they were trying to do something different with the song, but I”m not sure it fit her well. Same as Lauren, I think it was hard for being so young and accepting that critique from the judges, but I really do believe it will make her a better performer.


Haley Reinhart – “Blue”

I know her pitch was a little off, but I actually liked this performance. She reigned in the growling and she showed a softer side. Jennifer praised her sensual side and that was the only thing I was confused about. Never knew this song to be sensual, but other than that, I agreed with Jennifer and Steven.


Ashton Jones – “When You Tell Me That You Love Me”

Even though this wasn”t my favorite of the night, it WAS my favorite Ashton performance to date. It was controlled and elegant. I really liked getting to see that side of her.


Karen Rodriguez – “I Could Fall In Love”

This was not my favorite. However, something Jimmy Iovine said stuck out to me. He was telling her to stay quiet that night and rest her voice. That lets me know that she was probably a little hoarse. We”ve never seen her have to stretch for notes before, so I” thinking that”s what was going on. All that being said, I think she may have also picked the wrong song. It was a bit lackluster and I know Selena has more hard-hitting songs. Karen may be in trouble this week.