'American Idol' eliminee Malaya Watson: I was really hesitant to do the show
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/15/2014
American Idol eliminated Malaya Watson and determined its Top 7 thirteenth-season finalists during Thursday night's live results show on Fox.
Malaya, a 16-year-old student from Southfield, MI, became the sixth finalist sent home from American Idol's thirteenth season after she received the fewest home viewer votes cast following last week's performance show, which featured the Top 8 finalists performing songs from the 1980s.
During a Friday conference call with reporters, Malaya talked to Reality TV World about whether she was surprised to get eliminated. To read what she had to say, click here. Below is another portion of Malaya's interview. Check back with us on Wednesday for more.
So, when you were singing your farewell song last night, Jennifer Lopez was really emotional. What was that like for you, seeing her so broken-up about you leaving?
Malaya Watson: It really made me see how talented I was. Because at first, I knew I could sing, but I didn't know I could sing that well. So, it just really showed my musical ability and stuff. So, it really touched my heart.
Do you feel like you grew a lot throughout the competition? I mean, both as a person and as a performer as well?
Malaya Watson: Oh, yes. I mean, I haven't grown height-wise. I'm still just 5'2" (Laughs). But performance and singing and stuff, I think that's improved way more. Because I used to be -- honestly, a lot of people think that I really, like, want to just talk to everybody. I'm really shy.
How does your school promote you and show their support in your community?
Malaya Watson: Well, they put up a lot of like posters and stuff, and it's all over my high school page, and they released a newsletter, put it in the newspaper, stuff like that, and put it all around my school, and just told everybody. So, it really helped a lot.
We know that your dad is a professional guitar player. Did this influence you to get involved with music in the first place?
Malaya Watson: Yes. If he didn't do music, I probably wouldn't have done music either, because I never would have been, like, around it a lot. When I was growing up, I was always around music, like all the time. So, just having him there, always playing music, it really influenced me to take up music myself.
I wanted to know, what are three things that make you unique?
Malaya Watson: I play the sousaphone. I'm not afraid to be myself. And I can sing.
What are some of the struggles that you had to face during your run on American Idol?
Malaya Watson: Probably managing time with school and working on my music and stuff, and trying to balance my time evenly and get everything done at the same time.
All the judges stood and applauded for you last night, and I was wondered if they came up and spoke to you after the show. Did they have any final words of encouragement or advice?
Malaya Watson: They had told me, like, that I'll be going far in like a couple of years and they'll see my name all over marquises. And Harry Connick just told me to just work on my music, because I'll be big one day, and sometime soon. So, yes.
What have you missed most from home during your time in Hollywood? Is there anything you're looking forward to doing when you get back home?
Malaya Watson: Yes, seeing all of my friends, because I'm having like this big old get-together at my house tomorrow.
As you said, you're in the books now as the youngest Idol contestant ever. So, do you have any unique advice for other teens who want to audition for American Idol and pursue a music career?
Malaya Watson: I would say, just focus on school and just follow what your heart wants you to do. Because if I didn't do this, I probably wouldn't be here, because I was really hesitant. But just, if you really want to do something, do it while you have the chance because there's going to be an important time where you're going to want to do something and you don't do it, and you'll regret it.
When it comes to dating, what qualities do you look for in someone? Is it important that they play music like you?
Malaya Watson: (Laughs) Anyone I date, they have to play football. They have to be taller than me, with heels. And they can't be stupid, because you know what it's like, the myth, all football players are dumb. Like, they can't be dumb.
They have to have a nice side, and they have to be loyal and honest and stuff like that. Oh, yes, they have to be busy, because my schedule's always busy. But they have to understand what you're going through, because you don't want no whining boyfriend. Oh my God, no. I couldn't do it.
You had said before that you've considered doing a little acting, and I'm thinking with the acting and the singing, do you envision having some kind of a career similar to that of Jennifer Hudson's?
Malaya Watson: Yes, like doing movies and stuff like that, yes. I've always wanted to do stuff like that. That would be pretty cool, like, I've always wanted to just venture off and just get big in that -- also because I don't want to just stick to just making music.
It seemed like Harry was always talking to you about scales, about listening to music and working on runs. Did you understand what he was trying to tell you?
Malaya Watson: Yes, I did, because some of the stuff that he would talk about is the stuff my dad talked about, and it just helped that my dad talked to me about that type of stuff because I could understand what he was talking about, besides everybody else.
So your dad and Harry have a little bit in common?
Malaya Watson: Yes.
I was talking to your high school band director, David Miller, a few weeks ago, and he actually said he'd be surprised to see you back at Southfield High. Do you know for sure at this point what's in the cards for you?
Malaya Watson: I don't know yet, right now, I'm still debating. You know, Southfield is a great school, but there are more advanced schools that will like -- I don't know, it's just hard. But Southfield's been supporting me, so I don't know, it's still debatable.
What's debatable, then? That you might go to a more music or arts-focused type of school?
Malaya Watson: Yes, that kind of school, or like a more private-type school, or a different school farther from where I'm from. Something -- I don't know yet. That's still, like, on the table.
Your band director also mentioned to me that you're 16 and already talking about colleges a lot. Do you have a sense in terms of that part of your career? Is college even a certainty for you? Would you maybe just focus on an entertainment career at that point?
Malaya Watson: It just depends on where I am after I graduate from high school. I don't know like where I would be, what offers I would get, so it would just depend. But if I could go to college, I want to go to Southern University so bad. I want to go there, or a school down south, honestly.
So you sang a Broadway song, "I'm Changing" from Dreamgirls last night. Is Broadway something you're keeping on your radar for your career in the future?
Malaya Watson: Yes. It's a debatable thing. I can't really dance. I mean, I can dance if you tell me the routine, but I can't, like, freestyle. But I don't mind doing a Broadway-type thing. That would be kind of cool, actually.
Above is a portion of Malaya's interview. To read what she had to tell Reality TV World specifically, click here. Check back with us on Wednesday for the concluding portion.