*Season six finalist Melinda Doolittle has written a new book titled “Beyond Me,” due May 4. With a forward by “Idol” winner Jordin Sparks, the book offers Doolittle’s secrets to her success and gives practical guidance to overcome personal obstacles to achieve the next level in any area of life. In the book’s foreword, Sparks writes: “Melinda’s called her book ‘Beyond Me,’ and I know that is where her amazing strength comes from. I loved reading about the adventures we shared on ‘AI’ and seeing the same events from her unique perspective. But even more, I loved reading about the stories that were new to me – insights and memories from her childhood and growing-up years. It really made me see where she got all that wisdom.”
*”American Idol” contestant Chris Golightly was dropped from the top 24 semifinalists because he didn’t tell producers he had a music contract, a source told the AP. Singers with current deals aren’t allowed to compete. Golightly, 25, a shoe salesman from Los Angeles, was replaced by Tim Urban, a 20-year-old college student from Duncanville, Texas. A statement from Fox said Golightly was replaced because he was “ineligible to continue in the competition.” No further explanation was provided.
*A rarity happened with Wednesday’s “Idol’ episode – it was trounced in the ratings. According to Nielsen, 28.4 million watched the singing competition while 30.1 tuned into the Winter Olympics, where Americans Shani Davis, Lindsey Vonn and Shaun White (pictured left) picked up gold medals. It was the first time in six years that anything has beaten the nation’s most popular program head to head in the ratings. On Tuesday, “Idol” beat the Olympics by nearly 4 million viewers.
*Next week, season 8 winner Kris Allen will return to help raise money for earthquake-ravaged Haiti. As part of the show’s “Idol Gives Back” charity effort, Allen will travel to Haiti with the United Nations Foundation, share video from his visit and sing on the program’s Thursday, Feb. 25, episode. Fox said Wednesday that viewers will be asked to make donations online or by text-messaging, with the money going to the Idol Gives Back Foundation to help support the U.N. Foundation’s work in Haiti. “Idol Gives Back” takes place on the April 21 episode of “American Idol,” raising money for five charities, including Feeding America and Malaria No More.