More than nine years ago, Melinda Doolittle told herself she was perfectly content with being in the background.

Being a backup singer suited her style the best. At least that’s what she thought until one of her friends convinced her to take a trip from Nashville, Tennessee, to Memphis to audition for season six of “American Idol.”

“I told him he was crazy, I’m pretty sure,” Doolittle, 39, told the Gleaner in a recent phone interview, calling from New York City. “There was a group of four of us, and I thought for sure they wouldn’t let me through. But as it turned out, I was the only one who made it out of our group. I still remember how stunned I was that day.”

Doolittle ended up placing third on the show — farther than she would have ever imagined — and has since released two albums and toured across the world. Her life since the show has revolved…