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Fil-Ams Sellars and Watson head to Rush Week on ‘Idol’

Wyatt Ong
Two Fil-Ams are in the race to be the next American Idol. Consistency, focus, and practice will be key for the young singers

FIL-AM IDOLS. Marrialle Sellars and Malaya Watson advance to the Top 30. Screengrabs from YouTube

MANILA, Philippines – Two Fil-Ams will perform in American Idol‘s set of Rush Week episodes this week, starting February 18 (February 19, Wednesday in Manila). 

After Michigan’s Malaya Watson moved on to the top 30 in the first round of reveals, Marrialle Sellars, 17, of Indianapolis, Indiana also made it through on day two of the announcement on Thursday (Friday, Feb 14 Manila). 

Malaya and Marrialle will perform on day 1 of “Rush Week” along with the rest of the female contestants. 

The male contestants will perform on day 2. Audience voting will determine the top 10 in the first results show of the season on day 3, with the judges picking an additional 3 wild card singers to round out the top 13. 

Filipino mothers

Both Fil-Am contestants now in the spotlight have Filipino mothers.

In a tweet dated February 16, Malaya proudly showed off a photo of her wearing a black-and-white shirt with “Malaya” and “Manila” on it. (READ: How far will Fil-Am Malaya Watson go on ‘American Idol’?)

Marialle’s mom, Luzviminda Sellars, moved to the United States from the Philippines in 1994, according to The Indianapolis Star‘s David Lindquist. An earlier article by Lindquist, who has previously spoken with Marrialle and Luzviminda, noted that Luzviminda had helped Marrialle pick out her shoes for her Detroit audition, which judge Jennifer Lopez later admired. 

Wath Marrialle’s Detroit audition here: 

Pressure is on

Consistency will be the name of the game for both Malaya and Marrialle. Both strong singers wowed the judges early on in the competition, but later struggled in the solo performances leading up to the top 30 announcement. 

Malaya was tasked to sing a second time after judges noticed that her first rendition of Fantasia Barrino’s “I Believe” was off-key. (READ: After tense round, Malaya Watson now in Idol Top 30)

Marrialle had the judges applauding her in Detroit with her cover of Bruno Mars’ “Grenade,” but her later performance of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” impressed them just enough to let her through to the Top 30. 

“Inconsistency would probably be the first word that comes to mind,” cautioned judge Harry Connick Jr., before announcing she made it to the top 30.

The pressure is on for all the contestants to deliver, given the show’s many twists and turns. Two singers, Ben Briley and Neco Starr, will be vying for the last spot in the Top 30, to be decided via audience voting, and also to be announced during Rush Week. 

The competition will also get even more intense as some singers will be cut before they get the chance to sing during Rush Week, according to the Idol website. – With reports from Alexa Villano /

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