Rose Marielle Mamaclay and Sean Kumati, two foreign X Factor Malta singers who were eliminated during Sunday’s show insist they have no hard feelings for those who did not vote for them. 

“If people chose to vote for the others instead of me, I have no bitterness in my heart,” Mamaclay told Times of Malta. 

A professional singer from the Philippines, Mamaclay dominated the show for weeks but was surprisingly eliminated in Sunday’s semi-final together with Namibian singer Sean Kamati. 

Their elimination came after weeks of comments on social media urging viewers to “penalise” the foreign singers to ensure that a Maltese national wins the fourth season of the show.

Audiences were shocked by their elimination and X Factor judge and producer Howard Keith Debono said he was “uncomfortable” with the outcome. 

Rose Marielle Mamaclay spoke to Times of Malta about her X-Factor experience and what she makes of her elimination. Video: Karl Andrew Micallef

Speaking to Times of Malta, Mamaclay said she did not see the comments on social media and throughout the competition had decided to ignore any negative comments and simply focus on her music. 

“My friends sent me screenshots of comments, some of people saying they were disappointed that I was eliminated, and some other negative comments," she said. 

"I respect them. I am not delusional... but I would have liked to have been given a chance.”

The 38-year-old said she hopes people focus on being kind to one another, no matter their nationalities.

“I always see the good in any bad comments. Maybe the person who said that is going through a bad day.

"I do not hate anyone, I respect them and I hope we continue to spread love and peace, and not hate.”

Kamati meanwhile said he was aware that people voted for those they knew.

“I definitely thought I had the potential to win, but I am also aware that there was a possibility that I would not,” he said. 

“I am not local, and coming from a small country myself, I know how things go. People vote for who they know. I don’t believe I was eliminated because the Maltese don’t like foreigners, but because my performance was not the best.”

For the past few weeks, Kamati had been battling bronchitis and performed while ill. 

Sean Kamati and Mamaclay during a previous X Factor Malta performance. Photo: X Factor Malta FacebookSean Kamati and Mamaclay during a previous X Factor Malta performance. Photo: X Factor Malta Facebook

'You were the best'

Mamaclay stunned judges from the very beginning of the competition when she sang a rendition of The Greatest Showman’s “This is Me”  which had judges on their feet for a standing ovation. 

She also won the hearts of viewers.

During an interview with Times of Malta in Sliema, Mamaclay was interrupted twice by eager fans wanting to speak to her. 

“You were the best one,” one woman said. 

“You should feel proud because everyone is rooting for you.”

Two other women stopped to compliment Mamaclay and take some photos with her.

Fans appraoched Mamaclay during Monday's interview. Photo: Karl Andrew MicallefFans appraoched Mamaclay during Monday's interview. Photo: Karl Andrew Micallef

“People have been coming up to me all day, congratulating me and telling me how my performance made them cry,” she said. 

“People from the Filipino community even organised a small celebration for me this morning. I am very grateful for all this.”

Mamaclay first delved into the entertainment industry in the Philippines at the age of 17, when she would attend music school and band practice after her University lectures. 

“I am scared of competitions, but I auditioned several times,” she recalled. She won an international competition in 2013 in Los Angeles, USA.

She is now a mentor for young artists and singers who compete in European competitions.

Last year she received a message from a Maltese music scout asking her if she would like to compete in X Factor Malta. 

“I thought, ‘me? Competing? Now I enjoy being behind the scenes and mentoring, but I thought, why not try it again?”

Kumati, who lives in Xagħra, Gozo, was also approached by one of the X Factor producers to participate. 

“The rest is history and I am so glad I did this,” the 34-year-old said. 

It’s not unusual for singers to compete in foreign competitions.

Local singers Gaia Cauchi and Emma Muscat, also participated in foreign competitions.

Cauchi won the Sanremo Junior Music Festival in Italy in 2009 and also participated in X Factor UK in 2018.

Muscat competed in the Italian talent show Amici di Maria De Filippi, where she finished in fourth place in the semi-final and landed a contract with Warner Music Italy. 

'A remarkable night'

Both singers felt they gave their all during the semi-final show on Saturday, and were overwhelmed by the support they received following their elimination.

“Last night was amazing, a remarkable night and I told myself I would do my best and that is what I did,” Mamaclay said. 

“I fought till the end for a spot in the finals, but unfortunately it’s fate, and it is what it is. I am very grateful, and I feel that God carried me during this time, he was performing for me and with me.”

During Sunday's performance, Mamaclay described the support of the audience as if "the whole stadium hugged" her. 

"I feel like I won the people's hearts."

Sean Kumati said he loved the X-Factor Malta journey, but won't compete in any future competitions. Photo: X Factor MaltaSean Kumati said he loved the X-Factor Malta journey, but won't compete in any future competitions. Photo: X Factor Malta

Kamati also said he was overwhelmed and encouraged by the feedback he received after his elimination.

“I am very happy with what I achieved, it is a great experience, I learned a lot and I am very tired, but it was perfect,” he said. 

“At the end of the day, it boils down to the vote, so it is what it is and I am okay with that.”

Residing in Gozo for the past three years, Kamati said he is well accepted and feels that Gozo is his home. 

When asked if they would compete in future shows, both singers said this would be their last. 

"I feel I can tick it off my checklist. I will not do it again," he said.

"It was a lot of hard work and extremely tiring but a beautiful experience."

Mamaclay added she would continue to sing and mentor future artists.

'I feel like I have a family here'

Both singers had words of praise for their mentor Howard Keith Debono. 

Kamati said he developed a strong bond with Debono, and that he has been a "monumental" person in his life for the past few months.

"I can say I have a family here," Mamaclay said. 

"It feels like my father is watching me from the judges panel, I feel so safe and secure that he is proud of me. He is so uplifting, not only for me but also Richard and Sean."

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