From ‘American Idol XIII’ Top 3 to Bottom 3: Malaya Watson must perform right songs to rally votes and stay in contention

Tuba player-turned-singer Malaya Watson from Southfield, Michigan experienced being in the Bottom 3 early on American Idol Season 13.

The votes were enough though for her to get another shot at becoming the next Idol when Wild Card Kristen O’Connor did not get the unanimous vote needed from the three judges to stay on.


While Jennifer praised Malaya’s stage presence, she also said “it wasn’t your best vocal performance.” Harry noticed Malaya’s nerves were on high alert for the first finalist performance, while Keith noted Malaya’s contagious energy. (

Harry Connick Jr. explained that for the Judges Save to work it has to be unanimous but it wasn’t in the case of Kristen. The other aspirant in the Bottom 3 was MK Nobilette.

In Season 11, Jessica Sanchez was saved from exiting the show when judges Jennifer Lopez, Steve Tyler and Randy Jackson went on stage while the Filipino-American singer from California was singing her swan song. Jessica went on to challenge Phillip Phillips in the finale, which the WGWG (White Guy With Guitar) won.

Nothing like that happened in Season 12, with only Jackson left among the judges of Season 11, but with Keith Urban, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj joining him in selecting the winner, Candice Glover.

Sixteen-year-old Malaya did great during the auditions in Detroit,  earning her a ticket to Hollywood. She performed well and got to the Top 30.

She clarified how to pronounce her name correctly, telling Harry Connick Jr. that it means freedom. Although it actually means free and freedom is kalayaan in Filipino, it’s acceptable for those who understand. (

ImageSeason 13 judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr.

As to her Filipino connection, she said that she’s been to the Philippines 10 years ago and her mom cooks “chicken adobo, pancit, ensaymadas, all that.”

She also said that “it’s awesome to have a whole area supporting you” like how Filipinos supported Jessica Sanchez.


Season 11 finalists Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez

(Click the link for the PacificRimVideoPress interview)

In the Top 30, only 10 girls and 10 boys were selected by the judges to sing and from there selected the Top 10. Three were added as Wild Cards to make a total of Top 13.

Malaya was the last girl to be called to perform and the first one to be called to make it to Top 5 girls. The other Fil-Am, Marrialle Sellars, did not make the cut.

On Wednesday night the Top 13 contestants were tasked with performing songs that convey the theme This is Me. Malaya sang Bruno Mars’ Runaway Baby.


Host Ryan Seacrest and former judge-turned-mentor Randy Jackson

The idea was to pick a song that would define each singer as an artist and a person. Randy Jackson was on hand to give his take on the performers before they hit the stage, as he metamorphosized from judge to mentor.

Posted on the Net are varied reactions about the eliminations.

Malaya should tone down her performance for next week. She kind of overdid things this week so it ended up being messy and maybe viewers felt turned off by it. Pleased that she was saved though.– SilverStrumer

It was the right result but I think that Dexter and/or CJ should have been in the bottom3 based on their performances! — Mary Al


Season 13 Top 13

 American(s) got it wrong. Kristen has so much to bring!<3 I wish she brought out the guitar again. I know she will continue to be a shining star though!– David Griffin

 Malaya needs to calm down. Great voice but too over the top makes it all messy. And try not to move a lot. Thanks. — newginafits2009

 I think Malaya just chose the wrong song. Her voice is so much better than Kristen. Just my opinion.– lolivi meiny

 While I agree that Malaya’s performance this week is way poor than Kristen but overall it is Malaya’s talent and vibrant personality shine brighter than anyone else in the competition! 😀 — Jebb Cabriana


 Idk how Kristen made it that far, she was so boring. But Malaya has to step it up her voice is amazing and she has to show that… — alliyah


Harry Connick Jr. commented how Malaya made glasses and braces look cool.

Photos from


One thought on “From ‘American Idol XIII’ Top 3 to Bottom 3: Malaya Watson must perform right songs to rally votes and stay in contention

  1. Pingback: Feelin'Free | ‘American Idol XIII’: Malaya Watson safe, Emily Piriz gets the boot

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