Goodbyes are always tearful on American Idol. But there was something about the reaction when Ramiele Malubay was sent home that told you everyone on the stage adores the 4’11” cutie who had become their "little sister".
But today she told OK! that the friendships she made on the show meant much more to her than we might think.
The 20-year-old says that for the past five years she has been plagued by an unwanted "feud" with a group of girls that has, at times, left her miserable and made her retreat into a small circle of five or six trusted friends.
But she says going on Idol has changed her life, and not just because it has turned her into a household name. Being adored by her fellow contestants — let alone millions of Americans — means that she has now left her hang-ups about being "hated" well and truly behind her.
Finalist Ramiele, who was voted off Idol on Wednesday, fell out with a group of girls at her high school in Miramar, Fl., when she was just 15. The singer, who was born in the Philippines, says the hostility has dogged her well into college.
"When I was back home before the show, there were a lot of haters — like, a lot of haters!" said Ramiele, speaking exclusively with OK!
"They just hated on me for no good reason."
The animosity was so much of a defining feature in her life that when she made it into the semi-finals, she told the American Idol website that her favorite quote was, "If you’re hated, you’re doing something right," a mantra her friends used to comfort her.
But just two months later, after being accepted in the American Idol family, she says that, suddenly, the quote has no place in her life anymore.
"People [on the show] were telling me that I’m bubbly and I’m everyone’s little sister on the show, and then my quote doesn’t really go with how it is now.
"But it was way different before I got on the show."
"The people I was around before have got issues and I love that I got to be around the [the other contestants] and its flattering that they love me so much and call me their little sister and they take care of me," she smiled.
Ramiele says that she sort of wonders what those girls think about her being on Idol. But mainly she looking forward to moving to L.A. to live with her new best friend, semi-finalist Danny Noriega, pursuing her music career, and never thinking of them again.