Malaya Watson is bummed to be leaving “American Idol” 13 in eighth place, but she should still feel pretty proud of her accomplishments. How many other 16-year-olds can say that their first job was stunning audiences in a national singing competition?
“Getting to work with so many people was awesome,” the singer tells Zap2it and a small group of reporters backstage after her elimination. “I’m 16! What kid can say ‘I sang in front of Harry Connick, J-Lo and worked with Rickey Minor? Oh, that’s nothing major.’ It was my first job, what can I say? It was just a big opportunity that not a lot of people can experience, and with me being just a child it’s pretty cool.”
The “Idol” schedule is pretty grueling, but then again, so is junior year of high school. “It’s never easy to wake up at 6 o’clock, go home at 6 o’clock because of band and all that. It’s going to be stressful but at the same time it’s going to be okay,” Watson says. “I miss everyone back home and I talk to them all the time. While everyone hangs out I’m usually the person in my room talking to all my friends on FaceTime.”
Unfortunately, she also has to go back for some pre-college standardized tests. “I’m kind of happy because I get to finish school,” she says. “I’m not happy that I have to go back to do the ACTs. I’m relieved that I can take this weight off my shoulders for now because I have so much stuff to focus on when I get back home.”
That includes going back to band. “I miss the tuba,” she says, “so when I get back home I get to do marching band again and all of that.”