This was a terrible year on AI. Just the dregs. That said, the top 4 was a more solid top 4 than I ever remember. All worthy singers, but no one vocally came close to Melinda Doolittle. It's fine that she did not win, but the poor ratings for the final showdown prove that the matchup of Jordin and Blake was too clearly going to Jordin. The real nail-biter showdown would have been Jordin vs Melinda. Did Sparks deserve it? Well, I don't think so, but she'll be a good Idol in a Miss (Teen) America sort of way. She's saddled with the worst Idol song in years. One hopes they kill the whole concept next year and just write something afterward, specifically for the artist.
Here is my choice for Melinda's best performance. This is pre-makeover, pre-weave, pre-backlash. It is light years ahead of anyone else on the show.