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Ex-'Idol' finalist Melinda Doolittle to host PBS Christmas Eve concert


By Christopher Rocchio, 10/15/2007 

Melinda Doolittle is returning to her roots.

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The American Idol sixth-season third-place finisher and 1999 Belmont University graduate will host and perform at the school's annual "Christmas at Belmont" concert.  The concert, which will take place on November 19, will be taped and air Monday, December 24 at 10PM ET/PT on PBS.

"I have a lot of wonderful memories from performing at Belmont," said Doolittle.  "I was a part of Belmont Pops, University Chorus, Jazzmin, and Chadasha so I've been performing here for the longest time, even at the Commercial Music showcase. I'm really, really excited to be coming back for 'Christmas at Belmont,' to be given another chance to perform and also to host."

More than 400 students, the university's School of Music faculty as well as the Nashville Children's Choir are all scheduled to perform at the "Christmas at Belmont" concert, which will include everything from familiar carols to classical pieces.

"We are just incredibly pleased and excited to have Melinda hosting our 'Christmas at Belmont' this year," said Belmont's College of Visual and Performing Arts Dean Cynthia Curtis.  "For those of us around Belmont who've known Melinda since she was a freshman, she has always been a complete pleasure to work with. What we saw as she participated in the American Idol process is really who she is: she's very humble and yet very talented as a musician and performer."

Following her 1999 graduation from Belmont with a degree in commercial voice, Doolittle worked as a background singer for numerous artists including CeCe Winans, Anointed, Martha Munizzi, Risen, and Sandi Patty before appearing as a semiinalist on Idol's Spring 2007 edition.

"Belmont really prepared me for the musical side of things, finding my style and getting used to who I am musically, as well as for the business side, to understand what I was looking at when someone set a contract in front of me," she said.   "Belmont has been a huge preparation for me."

Doolittle had a busy summer, as she accompanied First Lady Laura Bush for a trip to Africa as part of a Malaria No More campaign in June and participated in Idol's 2007 national tour, which came to a close last month. She is currently working on her debut album.


(Photo credit Fox)


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