Last night, I finally had the chance to watch American Idol's Memphis and New York auditions. One of the true standouts of the evening was shy, and very nervous, 28-year old Melinda Doolittle.
Because she's a background singer by profession, straight-shooter Simon asked “Do you think fall off the stage, break your leg, and I’ll take your place?” (Thank you to the Reality TV blog for both the photo and excerpts from her interchange with the judges.)
Melinda's response: “Oh goodness no, for me it’s fun and I’ve kind of always loved being in the background. It's my comfort zone, so that’s been my fun little place, and I can be there and they can do their thing.”
Simon drills down further, "So what's changed?"
Her response is the keeper phrase: "I know that for me I need to get over the fear of standing in front of people by myself."
Think about it. Melinda's 28; she could have auditioned as early as 22, but to my knowledge, this was her first go at it.
She went on to sing a moving rendition of Stevie Wonder's "For Once in My Life".
Yes, I'm biased because I love Stevie Wonder; his "Songs in the Key of Life" collection remains one of my favorites. But song choice alone isn't enough to give us those goosebumps we get when we hear or see something special.
And Melinda is special.
In facing the fear of auditioning for American Idol, Melinda has moved herself to the center of her story, throwing down those pom-poms with a flourish!
Atta girl Melinda!