After doing a background check on Melinda Doolittle, during the early stages of American Idol's sixth season, something did not quite add up. Why would a singer so skilled, already something of a proven industry veteran -- with backing vocal credits on albums by Aaron Neville, CeCe Winans, Jonny Lang, and several others -- need to go through such a grueling process to get noticed and land a recording contract? As Doolittle continued to thrive on the show, that became more difficult to understand, and it also became increasingly evident that it might be best for her to not win the whole thing. With any luck, she'd fall just short of taking the prize, land on a sympathetic label, and team up with a professional producer who would tease out her strengths without worrying about platinum sales.
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