’American Idol’ alumni: Melinda Doolittle

Melinda Doolittle has turned a third-place status on American Idol in 2007 into a growing career as a crossover Christian musician.

Doolitte’s album “Coming Back to You” released exactly one year ago reached third on the Billboard independent label chart and made the top 60 of the magazine’s Top 200 pop album charts.

Doolittle, 32, worked as a backup singer prior to her American Idol appearance to a number of artists, including Alabama, Aaron Neville and the Christian gospel duo Anointed.

She has toured with Christian music mainstay Michael W. Smith on his Christmas Tour.

Doolittle is now entering the publishing arena with her autobiography “Beyond Me,” due for release from Christian publisher Zondervan on May 4. The book will feature a foreword by another Christian ‘Idol’ alum, Jordin Sparks.

Smith further praised Doolittle’s personable approach as part of publicity for the book.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of great people and I’ve observed how people react to a star,” Smith said. “It’s different with Melinda. Sure people are wowed by her celebrity. But it runs far deeper than that. When people meet Melinda for the first time — they immediately feel connected. It’s what made her so popular on ‘American Idol.’ She is genuine and approachable. And she has a down-to- earth, common sense about her that is beyond her years.”

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