Picks and Pans Review: Melinda Doolittle

updated 02/16/2009 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/16/2009 AT 01:00 AM EST

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R&B
Instead of trying to compete with the Rihannas of the world, American Idol alum Melinda Doolittle plays to her strengths as an old-school belter on her debut. The result leaves no doubt that Doolittle, third in Season 6 of Idol, should have whupped Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis. Like a young Tina Turner, she can go from a slinky purr to a mighty, gospel-charged growl on vintage R&B numbers that'll keep you coming back for more.

DOWNLOAD THIS: "Declaration of Love," a Motown-meets-Stax jam

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