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*It’s hard to watch any 16-year-old kid break down, even if America thought she was the worst singer this week in a crop of disappointing finalists this year on “American Idol.”

Malaya Watson, the wild-haired tuba player from Southfield, Mich, sobbed her way through a goodbye performance of “I Am Changing” from “Dreamgirls” during Thursday’s live broadcast [scroll down to watch], then, shed even more tears during interviews backstage.

It was like watching an episode of “Friday Night Tykes.” Amid such exaggerated, adult-sized pressure, people forget they’re just kids until one of them gets hurt.

Watson, however, got herself together enough to answer a question about the toughest lesson she’s learned from her “Idol” experience.

As you can see, Jennifer Lopez was teary during Malaya’s performance, too.

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And, during the closing credits…

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“It’s hard, you know, she’s so young,” J.Lo said backstage.

She continues below:

Below, watch Malaya’s elimination and performance of the song that sent her home, “I Am Changing.”