Idol's Malaya Watson Talks Diva Ballads, The Tuba & Harry Connick's 'Craft Over Stardom' Advice

As the youngest contestant on Season 13 of American Idol, it’s kind of fitting that Malaya Watson finished her run with a results-night rendition of “I Am Changing.”

RELATED | Idol Mentor David Cook on Judge Antics, Top 8 Performances & Whether the Show Still Matters

After all, over the course of a few months, Malaya went from a member of her high-school marching band to the eighth-place finisher on Fox’s reality TV juggernaut (and earned a spot on the show’s summer tour).

Malaya dropped by TVLine HQ this afternoon to talk about her breakout performance during Rush Week, her uptempo stumble on “Runaway Baby” and her decision to tackle such massive-voiced artists as Aretha Franklin and Chaka Khan during her Idol run.

Our Google Hangout will begin at approximately 2:10 pm ET, but if you don’t catch it live, fret not: The entire Q&A will be available for playback starting around 2:40.

So, press PLAY below for Malaya’s Reality Check exit interview, and follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV for all my Idol news, recaps, interviews, videos and exclusives!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. The Other Leah says:

    I’m having a hard time understanding, the audio is fading in and out.

  2. Lunakit says:

    Call me old fashioned, but I would happily forgo the “live” aspect of a google hangout for a well edited interview with good audio. It’s hard to understand all of Malaya’s words… This just seems too low budget.

    • Simon says:

      Yeah, that’s what I’ve been thinking this whole season. I miss the old interviews. And again, the live aspect is pointless anyway if we don’t get any sort of heads up.

    • Kim R says:

      I have to agree. Garbled audio, blurry picture, I’m not sure why the “live” thing was a good choice. Some of the talking disappears altogether. I think I’m going to move on from this one. :)

  3. marygrace says:

    Well…I like the broadcasts. The issue with understanding was more of Malaya trying to talk through her braces. I wore them and probably sounded just like that! She is very young but appears to be a real sweetheart. Hope she finishes high school and does well.

  4. WhatSheSay says:

    Can use some subtitles here. Michael is fine. Malaya? No comprendo.

  5. Jojo says:

    MALAYAAA! Would’ve loved hearing you sing Orange Colored Sky.

  6. RD says:

    Had to give up. Unintelligible.

    • LB says:

      Me too. During the first 30 seconds, I wondered to myself how I would be able to suffer thru 26 minutes of this. Then my iPad crashed. I took it as a sign and didn’t bother trying to continue on. Sorry, Michael. I typically love your interviews, but the quality of the audio and video this season has ruined them for me.

  7. Blinged Up says:

    I don’t think it’s an audio problem as much as it’s a mumbly teenager problem. I live with a couple of them…I constantly think I’m going deaf until I talk to adults again and then realize my hearing is just fine.
    She’s a sweetheart. I’m really going to miss her. I wish her the best of luck.

    • Leticia Prado says:

      I know what you mean. I already had a hard time understanding her on the show.
      Looking forward to the Dexter and CJ interviews…

    • Kristi says:

      Yeah, I haven’t had any trouble making out the words in any of the other live interviews.

    • Davy says:

      No, it’s definitely an audio/video problem. Listen to Michael’s voice starting at the 1:45 mark — he cuts out when he’s talking in a softer, higher pitch, as well. I think it’s more obvious with Malaya because her voice is higher pitched, and like you said, she mumbles. Plus, the video quality just isn’t as clear as they’ve been in the past. This seems a problem with the audio/video having to be compressed in Google Hangouts.

  8. Faye says:

    I prefer the live interviews because I get a better sense of the person. But I could not sit through this one. Understanding her was one issue, but her inability to sit still and focus drove me bonkers.
    Michael, please post a transcript if you have time. I would like to know what she has to say.

  9. NatasyaF says:

    I thought either my hearing or my computer was going: reassuring to see others had problems understanding her. I made it about halfway through, which was pretty tiring. Also, I could hear Michael just fine and thought his questions were interesting; however, the answers mostly weren’t. BlingedUp may be right about the mumbly teenager problem.

  10. Teeny Bikini says:

    Um… I totally can’t understand Malaya. Does she really speak that way? Anyway, I can’t take it. I hope the audio is fixed soon. I won’t care much about CJ’s interview, or Dexter. But I will cake about Jess, Caleb, Alex and Jena. Fingers crossed.

  11. ara says:

    I thought my internet connection must be slow so Youtube is sending me a low-res version of the video but that usually doesn’t affect audio quality so maybe it’s Malaya or how the mic was placed with respect to her or something. MK and Majesty and even Ben sounded fine in their interviews.

  12. Jared says:

    Nothing tops the Ben Briley interview anyway…

  13. KT says:

    I really like getting to hear the whole interview rather than just the edited bits. But these Google Hangouts are terrible quality. Sure, Malaya is hard to understand anyway, what with the braces and the accent (I’m a Southerner and still have a hard time with her accent), but none of them have been very easy to watch. At first I thought it was because they weren’t in the same room – doing the actual interview online – but Malaya and Majesty werre right there next to Michael and the sound/video quality was just bad. I hate to say it looks amateurish because I have a lot if respect for Michael, but….