Melinda Doolittle rates the ‘American Idol’ Carole King Night for HitFix

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.


Carole King is my hero! When you can write song so well that anyone sounds good singing them, you automatically achieve hero status. Wow! This was an amazing night on Idol. At this point, it’s anybody’s game. I loved the feedback that Jimmy Iovine and Babyface gave the contestants this week. I think they are really taking time to bring out the artistry (as Kara DioGuardi would say) in each contestant. So here are my thoughts about each contestant tonight. I’ve put them in order from most favorite to least favorite. I even critiqued the duets. Well…most of them. :-) Let me know if you agree. 

Haley Reinhart “Beautiful”
This was my favorite performance of the night! It just comes so easy for her and I love it!  I am in awe of what her voice can do. She really makes it seem like she has no limits. She is a pro. I also have to say that her note choices are amazing! Can you tell I loved it? I really hope America gets her because she is becoming a phenomenal artist before our eyes. That ending was flawless. Go Haley! 
Casey Abrams “Hi-De-Ho”
Loved this performance! The beginning was amazing! I had no idea his piano playing skills were so nice. I would love to hear more of that. Now, I know some of you don’t like his growls and grunts, and I get it. He puts it in every song and sometimes it can be a little distracting, but I think it’s his way of getting into the song. I also think it’s a habit that he’s gonna need more than a few weeks on Idol to break. I said that for those of you that are still not on the Casey train. For the rest of us…I thought it was fabulous! :-) I’m all about getting into a song and I’m thinking this song called for the growls…but maybe not the grunts. LOL! I agree with Randy, this was the perfect song for him. He won me over AGAIN with this one. I think if he dials back the growls and grunts, he may win over the rest of America too. I hope he gets the time to do that. 
Casey and Haley “I Feel The Earth Move”
I love when they sing together! It just makes me happy! They really compliment each other. It’s like Beauty and the Beast. I’m talking about their tones, not their looks. She has a soft, lilting tone to smooth out his gruffness and then they switch places. I just love it. Did I mention it makes me happy?
Scotty McCreery “You’ve Got A Friend”
This was my favorite Scotty performance this season. I even liked the way he held his microphone. :-) He really is great at what he does. I agree with Randy on the ends of his high notes. I would love to hear him come off of those notes a littler better. I think he adds a little run at the end and it doesn’t always land in the right place. Of course, I don’t think Randy needed to try to sing it for him, but whatever. 
James Durbin “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”
So, this song brings back fabulous memories of the movie “Dirty Dancing”. I was already happy when it started. The beginning was beautiful. I didn’t even mind the rock beat coming in. I am, however, having a hard time crowning this the winning performance of the night as the judges said. Sometimes, I feel like his pitch and his voice get away from him a bit. It’s probably my fault for comparing him to Adam Lambert, though. Not saying they have the same voice, but there are definite similarities. The difference is, Adam has uncanny control over his instrument and maybe when James is his age, he will have the same thing. 
*P.S. My favorite Ryan Seacrest moment of the night happened after this performance! First, Ryan called James a superstar, but James kept playing with the guitar cable and making an awful noise with it. Ryan quickly replied with, “A superstar would never let that happen!” Hahaha! Hilarious! I love it when Ryan gets annoyed. 
Lauren Alaina “Where You Lead, I Will Follow”
I felt like we got to see the Lauren we saw during the auditions tonight! I’ve been waiting on that and I’m so glad it came. She’s starting to get more comfortable. Whoever’s idea it was to have her interact with the background vocalists and the audience was genius! She needed someone to sing to and it made her feel more connected with the song. Now, for the judges…I had to go back and watch again to hear the crack in her voice after Jennifer brought it up. I think she meant the rasp that came in on the higher notes, which I loved. I’m hoping Lauren heard that as a compliment and it wasn’t the reason for her tears. Randy said it was a safe song choice. I loved the song, but I think she may have been safe in her delivery sometimes. However, she was stretching this week and I’m proud of her! 
Jacob Lusk “Oh No, Not My Baby”
This was my favorite Jacob performance this season. I love that he was able to let go of all the stress that comes with being on American Idol and being judged every week, and just have fun! I also think he picked the perfect song this week. Yes, his pitch was a bit off on some of his long high notes especially, but I’m thinking he may have been out of breath from all the dancing he did. He’s not used to moving around so much on that stage. The breakdown at the end, though, was FIERCE!! The saddest part is, on a night of such great performances, I think his ended up at the bottom of the pack. This says a lot about the rest of the performances, because he did a great job. Now the outfit is another story….
Scotty and Lauren “Up On The Roof”
This is such a great song! What am I saying? All the songs tonight are great! I love the way Lauren sings this, and I’m just gonna have to go with the assumption that Scotty is having a hard time hearing. His pitch really struggled, especially when he sang “second voice” as Jennifer Lopez called it…which I’m assuming meant the harmony. 
James and Jacob “I’m Into Something Good”
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