In an outcome that was not the least bit surprising – except, perhaps, to the "American Idol" judges who unconditionally love her – Malaya Watson was sent home by the voters this week. And after using their save on Sam Woolf, there was nothing those judges could do to prevent or delay the departure of the 16-year-old singer (and tuba player) from Southfield, Mich., whom Keith Urban had once said made glasses and braces "look so cool."
Having made appearances in the bottom three twice before, Watson turned in a shrill and shouty rendition of Chaka Kahn's "Through the Fire" on this week's performance show. Afterward, the judges had praised her potential, but not the performance itself. The writing was on the wall.
Even Randy Jackson, parsing the performances during Thursday's results show, had to admit Watson probably wasn't in it to win it after all. She'd hit some of Kahn's big notes, but not others, he noted, and predicted she "could find herself in a little bit of trouble tonight with the votes."
As it turned out, she found herself in a heap of trouble – with no way out. She and CJ Harris were relegated to the bottom two (Woolf was safe this time around), and it wasn't long before Ryan Seacrest let it be known that it was Watson, not Harris, whose time on the show had come to an end.
"We love you," Seacrest told her, and then reminded her of the time he'd asked her out on a date. "We're still going out for Italian, right? We're still going out for dinner one night?"
Watson answered in the affirmative, and then stepped forward to sing "I Am Changing," from "Dreamgirls," through her tears – and through Lopez's tears too. Watson tried to persevere, but once her fellow contestants surrounded her, she lost it and had to speak the end of the final sentence: "Nothing's gonna stop me now." Ironic. And if not surprising, still sad.
Do you think Watson deserved to go?