Malaya Watson thanks fans in the Philippines

By Yong Chavez, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Apr 04 2014 12:52 PM | Updated as of Apr 07 2014 08:01 PM

CALIFORNIA– American Idol finalist Malaya Watson expressed her desire to visit her mother's homeland in the future.

The 16-year-old Watson said she already met her relatives in the Philippines. "But I'm trying to go out there again when I get some moolah," she said.

Watson, who is part of American Idol Season XIII's Top 8 contestants, said she wants to personally thank Filipinos who continue to support her in the show.

"At the end of the day, I've always want to give back to the Philippines. It's like pay everybody back for helping me," she said.

The mother of the tuba player from Southfield High School in Michigan is Marian Bandico Watson, a nurse who was originally from Manila.

The young singer said she is learning Tagalog words from her mother.

"I remember, I was asking, 'How do you say 'him and 'her'? She's like, 'We don't use him and her. It's just you!'" the bubbly teenager said.

The bespectacled teen is popular among young fans of American Idol.

"I'm feeling really confident, in general, because I have to hone myself, because I don't want to sound like a slug or some unconfident piece of crap on television, like 'Oh, I'm just gonna sing this song.' No, you have to be confident so I'm always true to myself and true to everybody," she said.

Likewise, Watson is excited that people appreciate her bubbly personality.

"I think it's pretty awesome because people used to think, 'Oh, she's just different.' Now everyone's like 'Oh, my God, she's different!' So it's like two different aspects," she said.

On Wednesday night (Thursday in Manila) Watson performed her rendition of Aretha Franklin's 'Ain't No Way', which was her audition piece for the show.