Apart from the fact that American Idol, amid its dwindling viewership, is still the most popular singing reality show in the world, the inclusion of Filipino-American AI hopefuls is already a big catch to lure audience to watch the hit Fox program.
But during AI’s first years, Filipinos did care much about the talent competition until two Fil-Am contestants reached the final stage of the competition. Since then, the show became embedded in the local viewers’ consciousness anticipating to see another Fil-Am to show up in the audition rounds and eventually be given a seal of approval by the meticulous judges.
This season, two Filipino-American pop star wannabes would join the ranks of Jessica Sanchez, Jasmine Trias, Thia Megia and Ramielle Malubay who were able to penetrate the final leg of the popular singing contest.
Malaya Watson and Marrialle Sellars are strong contenders in this year’s AI edition after receiving their golden ticket to Hollywood. They both give Filipinos in every part of the world another good reason to follow the popular show.
The 16-year-old Malaya who is from Southfield, Michigan showed her vocal prowess with her rendition of Aretha Franklin’s classic “Ain’t No Way.”
She was commended by Jennifer Lopez by comparing her to a young Michael Jackson.
Meanwhile, also 16 years old, Marrialle was hailed by the American press as a Miley Cyrus look-alike, albeit a black one. She has been given the rare opportunity to have her audition shown twice on American Idol. She opened the 13th season and then her audition was once again shown as the last audition on the Detroit rounds.
Latest addition in the judging panel, Harry Connick Jr., praised the young singer after performing a Bruno Mars song as her audition piece.
“You are going to be a nightmare for the other competitors,” the judge remarked and even directed Marialle to face a camera to say, “My name is Marrialle Sellars, and I plan on being the next American Idol. ”