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Sanchez battles against Phillips in American Idol Finale

[Ledet leaves the Competition, settles for third place]

Filipinos all over the world (particularly the FilAms residing in San Diego, California) have diverted their attention and support to Jessica Sanchez, the 16-year-old half-Filipino, half-Mexican residing in the US and currently the last female standing in the 11th Season of Fox’s top-rating, singing-reality show ‘American Idol’, and will be battling against the 21-year-old Phillip Phillips of Leesburg, Georgia next week, Tuesday and Wednesday, May 22 and 23 at the Nokia Theater, Los Angeles.

Jessica Sanchez sang Jennifer Holliday’s ‘And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going’. Ledet performed prior to her, but after she sang her heart out with no theatrical acts whatsoever–she stole the thunder from the previous performer. Photograph from AmericanIdol.com.

On Thursday night (Friday in the Philippines), May 17, after the Top Three finalists: Sanchez, Phillips and the black contestant from Westlake Louisiana Joshua Ledet performed their three songs, fresh from their respective ‘American Idol’s Hero’s Welcome’ in their hometowns—host Ryan Seacrest announced that Ledet is eliminated and the two remaining finalists are going head-to-head at the finale.

Basing on the videos of the three finalists’ hometown visits, only Ledet has the lesser crowd and was not a surprise to leave the show. Despite, the three judges’ backing up on Ledet, the fate of the 19-year-old was dependent on the text votes, which was evidently the advantage of Sanchez and Phillips.

After Seacrest announced that the first person to qualify and stay in the competition, Sanchez’s facial reaction was of mixed emotions—she was shocked or surprised and at the same time ecstatic. She survived after she was eliminated on April 12 and was dramatically saved by the three judges—Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and Steven Tyler.

Will Jessica break the four-year domination of male American Idol winners?

There is a great possibility that the pride of the Philippines, Sanchez will be the first Asian-Latin-American winner of the longest-running talent show that discovered the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee Dewyze, and Scotty McCreery because of her pretty, petite and perky with a powerful voice, crazy range, a charismatic personality, and an army of 386,806 Twitter fan base (as opposed to Phillips’s 311,549 followers) according to an article on TheHollywoodReporter.com on May 15.

Prior to Sanchez’s advancing to the finale, there were some stories circulating that Ledet was his contestants’ choice, but unfortunately, the competition isn’t based on what the other eliminated finalists’ views, but on the SMS votes, which is pretty much a battle between the supporters of Phillips and Sanchez until the last minute of voting.

But was the judge, Tyler’s comment during the Top Three performances—a prediction that it would be Sanchez who will be the last one standing in the competition?

As Tyler’s statement, even during Jessica’s elimination was also a signal that the three judges would be using their ONLY SAVE and they did when the Asian-Latina-American was the supposedly sent home if they haven’t intervened.

Jessica tops all the FilAms who made it to AI finalists

To date, Sanchez surpassed another FilAm Jasmine Trias’s highest achievement as Top Three in 2004. Other FilAms who made it to the finalists’ list were Ramielle Malubay as Top Nine in 2008, and Thia Megia who only settled Top 11 the previous year.

Jessica is also a contemporary of Thia Megia, which went ahead of her at the age of 15 and auditioned. However, in an interview, Sanchez felt that after her patience and perseverance in joining quite a number of singing contests in the past; her Idol journey is the culmination of everything and she could now almost feel that she is reaching her success.

Also at her age, she very much ready for stardom and the most professional in terms of talent, ethics and all, which she has perhaps gained in her early years of joining contests since she was 10 years of age.

At the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem, Jessica performed at the said venue where crowds pride themselves on booing people. Not only did she survive, but her version of Franklin’s ‘Respect’ drew not one but TWO standing ovations. Whoopi Goldberg, who was hosting ‘Showtime at the Apollo’ that same evening, called her back onstage for more accolades from the famously combative audience.

Not only that, she earned similar love as a contestant on ‘America’s Got Talent’ the year after, when creator Simon Cowell told the 11-year old she was one of the best he ever heard and even five years later, Cowell’s words are still true.

A Prediction that Might Just Come to Pass

When Sanchez sang Mariah Carey’s ‘My All’ on the night of Top Three performances, Tyler said, “… when you sing, you make people hang on your every note… the way you sing, you know, I just hope you get used to encores because you… and another crazy kind of way—you’ll be the last one standing, I believe so. That was so over the top girl.”

Tyler may be the most vocal amongst the three judges who appreciates Jessica, but during the announcement of the Final Two, Jennifer Lopez’s reactions was jubilant and was clearly an indication that she herself was rooting for the Californian girl.

As the singer’s unique rendition of the late Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ stirred and moved all three judges, with Tyler who declared that she may be ‘The One’ (referring as the Season’s Idol Winner). Indeed, Jessica can sing competently, not just confidently, so to speak.

In order to bring home the title, Jessica will need all the votes she can acquire in order to beat her rival from Georgia who was consistently been on top of the ballgame.

To be updated on the finale show, click here.


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