Ramiele Malubay's fellow American Idol finalists stood head and shoulders above her, but she says she never felt overmatched.
"I feel it was all an even playing field. We all had our weaknesses and strengths," she told reporters on the morning after her elimination from the competition. "We were picked for a reason."
At 4 feet, 11 inches, Malubay was the shortest Idol. And compared to the likes of former Star Search champ David Archuleta and former MCA recording artist Carly Smithson, she was one of the least-seasoned singers.
"I knew they all had experience. [But] I had as much experience as I thought I was going to need," Malubay said. "We're all learning what I'm learning."
Malubay finished ninth, her run coming to an end after her Dolly Parton week performance of "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind."
And, yes, it totally crossed Malubay's mind that she was the doomed one on Wednesday's results show.
"I kind of knew it was me when I was told to sit down," she said.
Early on, Malubay, who was born in Saudi Arabia to Filipino parents, had expressed her desire of becoming the first American Idol winner of Asian descent.
"I got as far as I could," she said Thursday. "I hope nobody's disappointed."
- Malubay, who last called Florida home, said she intended to stay in Los Angeles for a while and confirmed she intended to take up digs with Top 24 Idol semifinalist Danny Noriega: "We'll take care of each other."
- Simon Cowell, per Malubay, is a "really nice guy," who offered his shoulder to cry on after her dismissal.
- David Cook, who said his blood pressure incident on Tuesday night was overblown, "is fine," according to Malubay, who was actually a nursing student before Idol. "He went to the hospital," she said. "He's fine."
- Archuleta, who is three years younger than the 20-year-old Malubay, had a habit of "walk[ing] by me all the time and pet[ting] me on the head, like I'm his little sister."
- Malubay, who hates wearing heels, didn't wear them for Wednesday's show, hence exacerbating the height differential between she and fellow bottom-three dwellers Kristy Lee Cook and Brooke White.
- No, Malubay is not a student of the Smoky Mountain music of Dolly Parton: "I didn't know the song [that she performed], and I didn't know any other song, other than 'I Will Always Love You.' "