Kelly Clarkson Vs. Melinda Doolittle: Idol Best Performance Semifinals Continue!

Incredible voices. Undeniable songs. Unbelievable charisma. Flawless phrasing. That’s what we’ve been celebrating over the last month in’s American Idol All-Time Greatest Performance Bracket Tournament. And our women’s semifinal has come down to two ladies who truly embody those qualities: Kelly Clarkson and Melinda Doolittle!

One of these fine chicas will make it to our finale: Kelly with her insanely good “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” or Melinda with her divine “My Funny Valentine.”

‘American Idol’ Top 3 Performance Night Recap: Destiny’s Riled?

It’s hard to imagine a finale without one of these epic performances, but that’s the way the story has to go as our single-elimination tourney enters its final phase. Polls are still open in our other semifinal — Kris Allen Vs. Adam Lambert — so click here to vote in that matchup, too.

Before you head to the polls, you may want to peruse these memory-refreshing links to the performances entering the ring this afternoon:

Performance Links!
Kelly Clarkson – “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman
Melinda Doolittle, “My Funny Valentine

Watch those videos now, then head down to our polls to vote for your favorites (voting will be open for 48 hours), and hit the comments to justify your picks.

Idoloonies: Stefano Langone Talks
Piano Skills, ‘Hello,’ and Gordon Ramsay’s Bad Behavior

And if you’re interested in seeing how Kelly and Melinda made the semifinals, click here to check out the entire 64-player bracket (then click again for a zoomed in view), and sign up to follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Evan says:

    Noooooooo! Not Mindy Doo! (Haha, I love Kelly Clarkson too. Girlpower for the final round!)

  2. Kumbaya says:

    It’s so difficult to choose.

  3. Rhama says:

    Kelly is definitely more popular and successful but this match should go to Melinda.

  4. weezer says:

    Can we have a redo of the bracket and put Haley’s moments to the test? I picked Kelly over Melinda BTW.

    • Kari G says:

      I was thinking the same thing! We should have waited to do this bracket once season 10 was over. I think we could have easily sub’d Haley for Nadia Turner at the very least haha.

  5. brandy says:

    Sorry Melinda, I love you. But Kelly is queen of this show. Always will be.

  6. Tim says:

    Am I blind? I’m not seeing a poll.

    • Tim says:

      Ok working now. Guess I just needed to clear my cache.

      Kelly all the way! She had it all: talent, charisma, perfect pitch, power, control, subtlety. I prefer “Stuff Like That There” but this one is pretty great too.

    • DC says:

      That’s what she said…

  7. aunt_deen says:

    There is not an Idol performance in the history of Idol performances that I will vote for against Funny Valentine.

  8. Cy says:

    No disrespect to Kelly, but on sheer vocal ability alone, I think Melinda takes it by just a little bit. Also, I’ve never been a fan of Kelly’s big note in “Natural Woman.” ^^;;

  9. ellis says:

    All hail Melinda!

  10. JVC says:

    Sorry Mindy Doo, like brandy said, I love you but Kelly has and always will rein supreme over the other females. She was the one that started it all and I have to choose her. I wish fantasia was going up against her and it would’ve been more interesting between those 2 winners.

  11. Paul says:

    I voted for Melinda. Granted, Kelly is absolutely the best winner to come out of the show, and the one that started it all, and I know she will win this poll haha. But I voted for Melinda– looking at JUST this performance, this was not at all Kelly’s best (still awesome, of course), but it’s lacking a bit in comparison to “Stuff Like That There” or “Without You.” “My Funny Valentine” is just a flawless performance. I can’t fault it.

  12. B.Rich says:

    I had never heard anything like it when Kelly hit that note. I think that single note was enough to win season 1 and will be enough to win this bracket.

  13. kyrjar says:

    Some people vote purely on popularity which imo is not the point of this poll to find the best “moment” on AI in terms of singularly outstanding performance.

    However, Kelly’s moment carried her right to the end as people took notice of her and she kept delivering. (Like Cook’s Hello and Kris’ Make you feel my love for me). One performance strictly versus the other, I could see how some like Melinda’s immensely impressive vocal performance better over Kelly’s powerhouse with ease one. In context, however, Kelly was not the front-runner and this performance set up her path to the AI win. Without Kelly, I don’t think this show would still be on the air right now.

  14. GinaBallerina says:

    There is just *something* about Kelly (for me, -maybe not- for you). She makes me feel songs like NO ONE else, on Idol or outside of Idol. She is my second favorite singer of all-time but she is my most favorite performer ever. As soon as she begins singing…forget about it!
    Melinda is awesome here (I didn’t watch Season Six) but like I said, Kelly just has *something* that sets her apart from other female singers that sing just as technically well as she does. Her tone, too, is unlike anyone’s I’ve ever heard. Just exquisite. This is the performance that made me a fan. Kelly’s “Stuff Like That There” is the more fully realized, complete performance, but it’s still sure hard to vote against this one.
    Two classy performances by two classy ladies.

    • flower says:

      I totally agree! I don’t know what it is, but Kelly’s singing draws you in. It’s not the technique or the flawless singing or anything like that, it’s just that I remember I couldn’t take my eyes off her when she was singing on the show. It made me stop and listen. And Kelly’s songs just stay with me for awhile after I hear it. Why is that?

  15. LauraHolt says:

    This tournament sounded like such an awesome idea and in the beginning it was; however, in this round, as well as the previous round, we’ve run out of cannon fodder.

    I do not enjoy having to choose between these two performances.

    Melinda has one of the most smooth, clear and beautiful tones we have ever heard on AI. There are many AI contestants I like despite the fact their tone isn’t always pleasant. Melinda has NEVER sung a note I didn’t LOVE hearing.

    Melinda consistently phrased songs so beautifully and so brilliantly.
    Her phrasing on My Funny Valentine was so perfect and at times surprising. I realllllllllllly love that performance. She is more technically proficient a singer than Kelly is, there can be doubt of this.

    Having said all that, I distinctly recall the moment that Kelly hit that HIGH note. I just did NOT see it coming and it was sooooooo surprising and bad ass. I give her bonus points for that. With the luxury of hindsight, I have to give Kelly even more bonus points because it was quite some time before we saw AI contestants making surprising choices with well known songs.

    So between these two songs I have to give it to Kelly with the Footnote that if this was Melinda’s Top 16 Performance of “I’m a Woman”, a song she DEVOURED whole while giving a performance in which her swagger reduced Kelly from a Natural Woman to a Natural Child, I would INSTANTLY vote for Melinda.

    There would be no question in my mind, no guilt and certainly no need to over explain my choice in the comments section.

    So with regret (my apologies for going all Lord Alan Sugar* on you), I must cast my vote for the fabulous Kelly instead of the amazing Melinda.

    *UK’s The Apprentice is an infinitely more palatable show then it’s US counterpart, mainly because of the “The Apprentice Your Fired!” talk show that follows each episode. A rotating panel of two people in the industry relevant to the task, one comedian along with a super charming funny host discuss the episode with the newly fired contestant. They cover the contestant’s egregious sins & errors that got them fired. They give them a funny gift and typically useless gift relevant to them, and then the audience holds up sign saying Fired or Not Fired if they agreed with Lord Sugar’s choice. Nearly every contestant redeems themselves no matter how contentious or obnoxious they were on the show.

    • LauraHolt says:

      OR her Top 24 “Since You’ve Been Gone” Performance

      I would rate Melinda’s singing and swagger higher than that of Kelly’s on Natural Woman too.

  16. Erin says:

    Having actually won a march madness bracket this year, I appreciate the beauty/pain of having to choose. And I understand that there are always upsets, and all four number ones never make it to the final four. But still (and despite much love for mindy doo), losing Fantasia before the final four is hard. But I guess that solves my personal mystery of what to do when Fantasia was to go up against Adam.

  17. It’s just plain mean to make us pick between these two because both performances are brilliant!

  18. zach says:

    I say we pit Adams Mad World against Kelly’s natural woman and see who wins :D :) :D :)

    • cg says:

      Um Kelly’s performance hand down. :)

    • dctoronto says:

      Apart from being bathed in blue light, there is nothing original about Mad World (I rather listen to the TFF version). He used an exisiting arrangement and never gave credit. Kelly on the otherhand made a classic her own.

  19. Georgia says:

    This was a tough one for me, too. Both are remarkable artists whom I like personally. My all time favorite Kelly song was post-Idol. Melinda’s performance is absolutely flawless, but I never have particularly liked “My Funny Valentine”. I voted for Kelly, but it was a difficult decision!

    • Georgia says:

      I should clarify that I meant that I don’t like the *song* “Funny Valentine”. I have an iPod full of old standards like that, but never have warmed up to that song. Love Melinda’s performance, though!

  20. Brecken P says:

    Bah. I knew Kelly would be winning this one, but she really shouldn’t be, at least not with that particular performance (I would understand these results much more if it were “Stuff Like That There”–that matchup would have been really difficult for me). She had several performances better than “Natural Woman,” even taking the cringe-worthy high note into question. Melinda’s “My Funny Valentine” was a practically perfect performance and in a perfect world there would be only a handful of Idol performances that could challenge it, but we don’t live in a perfect world.

    Looks like I’ll be casting my vote for Adam Lambert next round. A disappointing final matchup.

    • Brecken P says:

      even *without taking the high note into *account.

      Spaced out there.

    • RalphThompson says:

      i completely disagree with your assessment of Kelly Clarkson’s performance and I believe that it is the better performance. Melinda is wonderful but not even in the same league as Kelly Clarkson.

      • Paul says:

        COMPLETELY disagree.

        Vocally, Melinda absolutely IS in the same league as Kelly. If we’re talking about top notch vocals on the show, the Top 5 would have to be Kelly, Melinda, LaToya, & Adam.

  21. Wendy says:

    I like Melinda a lot during her run on AI and I was definitely pulling her for her to win.

    But as many posters have already said – there is just something about Kelly. I have been a die hard AI watcher since the beginning and while I have liked and enjoyed a lot of the contestants that have appeared on the show (Daughtry, Elliot Yamin, David Cook) no one has had the impact on me that Kelly has.

    I think she has an advantage having been first and an underdog. To my mind she may be one of the few contestants that we clearly got to chose. No producer “pimping” or sob stories just someone with a great voice who blew us away.

    My all time favorite performance of Kelly’s is probably “Stuff Like That There” but I think her cover of “Natural Woman” is where she came out and won season 1. Before that she was a nice girl with a good/great voice. After “Natural Woman” we could see the superstar within. I remember watching the Judges feedback after that one and you could see Simon especially having to readjust his world view.

    Hands down Kelly.

  22. Cat says:

    LOVE Melinda Doolittle…but it’s Kelly every time.

  23. Yael says:

    I can’t understand the voters here – its about the best performance of the two options, not which artist you prefer. when comparing the two performances ‘My Funny Valentine’ is better.

  24. Kim says:

    Natural Woman is a better performance than My Funny Valentine, so Kelly gets the vote.

  25. claudia says:

    The only performance of Natural Woman I really like is Aretha Franklin’s. Kelly had other performances that I like better. Also didn’t like that whistle high note. I voted for Melinda for that reason.

  26. joe says:

    Stuff Like That There is better than both of these performances.