'American Idol' Final 3: Why Jessica Sanchez Should Win
Adam Lambert, Beyonce, Jennifer Holliday, Jennifer Hudson and music industry vet Tommy Mottola are all fans of the teen powerhouse. Here is why you should jump on the bandwagon, too!
From the time Jessica Sanchez stepped in front of the American Idol cameras with her audition song, Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” it was obvious the pint-sized teen from Chula Vista, Calif., was special -- and a serious contender to win the whole thing.
There are several reasons why Sanchez remains a season 11 front-runner. She’s pretty, petite and perky with a powerful voice, crazy range, a charismatic personality -- and an army of 321,328 Twitter fans, including season eight runner-up Adam Lambert, who anointed Sanchez a “star” on the microblogging site.
“Phillip [Phillips] and Hollie [Cavanagh] are terrific singers. I just think you kick their butts," Lambert tweeted to Sanchez on May 5, hours after she brought down the house with Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful.”
Lambert isn’t the only member of the Sanchez fan club. The 16-year-old has admirers in Idol alums Kris Allen, Haley Reinhart and Jennifer Hudson, along with Beyonce, India.Arie, Colbie Caillat, Billy Joel and music industry honcho Tommy Mottola, who proclaimed Sanchez “the real thing."
Indeed, her dynamic rendering of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” moved all three judges, with Steven Tyler declaring, “You just may be the one.” Randy Jackson has repeatedly named Sanchez as the “best singer in the whole competition.” Jennifer Lopez praised Sanchez’s pipes with a huge compliment, “Your voice is so different than anybody else, and it kind of touches on Whitney.”
Which isn’t to say Sanchez’s Idol journey didn’t have bumps in the road. After a misguided decision to perform the Jazmine Sullivan ballad “Stuttering” in Week Seven, Sanchez was front and center for the most dramatic judges' save in Idol history. Lopez all but sprinted to the stage, ripping the microphone out of Sanchez’s hand midsong to announce that the teen would be spared.
Since then, Sanchez has roared back with unforgettable moments. Last week, she wiped the floor with the other vocalists, delivering a gut-wrenching take on Jennifer Holliday’s “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going.” Her version drew a heavy endorsement from Holliday herself.
“I truly believe Jessica could be the next American Idol,” the Tony Award-winning singer tweeted, adding that she was “humbled” by Sanchez's treatment of her song.
Why else should Jessica Sanchez be crowned the winner? Let us count the ways:
At 16 years old, Sanchez is already a professional. When she was 10, she performed at the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem, a 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 night, called her back onstage for more accolades from the famously combative audience. She earned similar love as a contestant on America’s Got Talent the following year, when creator Simon Cowell (you do know him, right?) told the 11-year old she was “one of the best I ever heard.” Cowell’s words are still true five years later.
She’s young and cute. Sanchez, whom guest mentor will.i.am dubbed a “Swaggernaut,” has a mass appeal necessary for crossover success. Couldn’t you just see her as a guest on a certain award show rubbing shoulders with Big Time Rush or One Direction? She also is a prime candidate for a guest-starring role on BTR, just like season-six winner Jordin Sparks.
The possibilities for radio success are endless for Sanchez. She has the pipes to deliver it all: big ballads, pop songs, movie soundtracks, dance singles or singing the hook as a guest vocalist. She is that versatile.
She carries herself like an Idol. Sanchez has been humble and respectful throughout the entire competition, even when faced with elimination. She has grace and will be a perfect ambassador of the show.
It needs to be said: A female winner is long overdue. The show has not had a woman win since Sparks took the crown in 2007, and today’s biggest stars (Adele, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, etc.) and the most successful Idol alumni (Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood) are women.
It is evident that Interscope executive Jimmy Iovine can’t wait to make a record with Sanchez. America, let’s make that happen!