'American Idol' Exit Interview: Ramiele Malubay
Singer admits a strong first-week performance may have ultimately hurt her
"I kind of felt like I was going home last night, not to be like all negative or anything, because I'm really not that kind of person," Malubay tells reporters the morning after. "I just felt it a lot more when Dolly [Parton] sang that song. I was praying while she was singing and I'm all 'Oh, I'm going home.' But it's OK. All of us have to leave sometime. There's only one winner."
That's two or three weeks in a row that the Idol bootees have steadfastly declared that they saw their eviction coming. For Malubay, though, the booting came after a Dolly Parton Night performance of "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind" that she says she was proud of.
"I actually didn't know the song and I didn't know any other songs aside from 'I Will Always Love You,' [which] is the obvious song that everybody knows," she says. "I picked it and it was either that or a ballad and I listened to the song and I wanted to challenge myself to see how I could take a song and make it my own even though it wasn't in the same genre or the kind of music that I'm kind of into. I'm proud of myself that I actually like moved on stage, performance-wise. I felt that I grew that night."
Sigh. For the 4'11" Florida-based singer, that almost sounds like an invitation to make a short joke, but Malubay's been able to laugh at her stature all season, whether it led to jokes from host Ryan Seacrest or if caused all of the contestants to view her as a sibling.
"I'm older than [David] Archuleta and he'd walk by me all the time and pat me on the head like I'm his little sister," she laughs.
Malubay admits that she felt extra pressure after her Top 24 Round rendition of "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" earned raves from the judges.
"Honestly, the first week, I didn't know it was such a big deal, up until people were telling me like, 'You did really well' and I'm like 'Did I?'" she says. "So I was like, 'Crap.' And I let that get to my head and I'm like 'Crap. Now I need to try and do better than that.' When you overthink things like that, pretty much you just overthink it so far that you don't know how to handle yourself anymore. Sometimes you just overthink it and the song just gets out of hand, it's not in your control anymore."
Malubay, who lived in the Philippines until she was five, sees hope for her future in the post-Idol success of Jasmine Trias.
"I definitely wanted to go back home, because it's home," she says. "I wanted to see what I can do over there. I'm pretty sure I might have something over there and following in her footsteps, she led a lot for me to follow, so I'm very grateful for her for being the first Pilipino American Idol, to go and be on the show and be doing big things."
For now, Malubay plans to stick around Los Angeles to see what opportunities present themselves in music or in acting. She also has plans to move in with her friend and fellow Idol contestant Danny Noriega, though that will probably have to wait until after the Tour.
"We're a fun duet," she raves.
A couple other highlights from Malubay's exit interview:
On her professed desire to be the first Asian-American Idol winner: "I felt a little bit of pressure, just to see how the fan-base would grow and stuff. It was so flattering and it was really exciting, but then again I was like 'Oh, I have to do well, not only for myself and not only for my parents, but for people of the same race and the people supporting me.' I got as far as I could and I hope nobody's disappointed."
On whether or not her height was a disadvantage: "I just hate wearing heels. If I don't need to, I really won't. That's why last night I was like 'Oh screw it. I'm gonna flats tonight.' I wore flats last night and I was like, 'The world's gonna see how tall I really am' and standing next to Carly in that long line, you saw how tall I really was."
On what she learned from her Idol run: "I learned to be more of a humble person. I learned to take things in more, to appreciate the little things and to be more courteous to people and to acknowledge every person who works on the show, because it doesn't work without every single person who helps you out."