Although she received the fewest home viewer votes following Wednesday night's performance show, which featured the Top 7 finalists performing songs released in the year 2010 until today, Sanchez was allowed to remain in American Idol's eleventh-season competition when the show's judges unanimously decided to use their one-time "The Judges' Save" ability to prevent her ouster during Thursday night's live results show broadcast on Fox.
"Give me that [microphone]! This is crazy! Yes, we're using 'the save!' You're not going home. Go sit down, go sit down," Idol judge Jennifer Lopez told Sanchez after she ran onstage and cut the singer off mid-performance as she was "singing for her life" in attempt to impress the judges and hopefully remain in the running to be crowned the nextAmerican Idolchampion.
"This is a first. So the judges get one 'save' during the season and they've got to use it by the Top 5," Idol host Ryan Seacrest announced.
"We are saving Jessica without any doubt," judge Randy Jackson said. "Let me just say this for myself, [fellow judge Steven Tyler] and Jennifer. This girl is one of the best singers in America -- ever. Are you kidding me?! Please everybody, please vote for the best. It's about finding the best. I mean, come on."
Sanchez, a 16-year-old from San Diego, CA, seemed thrilled yet shocked the judges went out on a limb for her to the point where Jackson was pleading with America to keep her around.
"As you saw [the judges] getting out of their seats, what was going through your mind?" Seacrest asked Sanchez.
"Nothing," said a stunned Sanchez.
"Were you surprised to be standing here at the end of the show?" Seacrest questioned.
"No, not at all. I don't expect anything. I just do what I do and whatever happens, happens. I just want people to know I've been working hard my whole life," Sanchez explained.
"A lot of people across the country, I'm sure, were surprised to see you standing up here, and the judges did the right thing. Congratulations Jessica," Seacrest told the young performer.
Prior to Sanchez's "save" by the judges, Seacrest had revealed that Elise Testone, a 28-year-old from Charleston, SC, and Joshua Ledet, a 19-year-old from Westlake, LA, were the other members of the week's bottom three vote-getters.
Sanchez was not the only bottom-three member who left the Idol judges dumbfounded over how the vote had turned out. Although Jackson, Lopez and Tyler did not announce they were disappointed America also put Ledet in the bottom three, based on their comments from Wednesday night's performance show along with those of Idol mentor Jimmy Iovine, he did not deserve to be in that position.
"Eleven seasons I've been doing this show. I've never seen this happen. This is a ridiculous bottom three. America, I've never said this. They got it wrong tonight baby. They got it so wrong," Jackson said after Seacrest had revealed the week's bottom three.
"Steven, one of these faces could be leaving the show tonight if you guys don't use your 'save.' What happened with the vote?" Seacrest asked.
"We're going to use our card tonight, especially with an outcome like this." Tyler noted.
Sanchez -- who was one of the 10 finalists voted into the season's Top 13 by home viewers -- had received raving reviews from the judges following her performance of "Stuttering" by Jazmine Sullivan on Wednesday's performance show.
"Let me say this first. A lot of people probably don't know, but I love the arrangement you did with the song... What you did tonight is you set the bar really high. You said 'I've been singing these songs, I've been doing my thing and now I need to show everyone what kind of talent level I have," Jackson explained.
"Dude, that was superb. That was at the highest degree. Yo, the control you singing, you scatting and all of this -- the song that you chose by this girl, this girl is ridiculous herself. Dude, you did an amazing job on this song. To me, right now, you slayed the biggest fish of the night. This song was the toughest one to sing. Congratulations."
"Jessica, that was really beautiful and I think my favorite part was right in the middle. You really started digging. You started digging a little bit more. I saw it. You were like, 'I'm going to tell this story. I'm going to dig a little deeper. And I feel like you have, probably more than anybody, an amazing opportunity to really take this audience -- this American Idol audience -- America on a ride like they've never been," Lopez told Sanchez.
"We have a few weeks left here, and I think what I want to see from you are a couple of Joshua-type performances in how impactful they are, because we know that you sing like nobody we've ever heard sing. That's the way I feel sometimes when listening to you. It's just amazing. But now, take us for a ride every week. We only have a few weeks left. You can do it, you can do it. You can show us something we've never seen. I want to see it! I want to be here and watch it!"
"Jessica, every time I hear you sing, I forget where I am. I forget where I am, but America doesn't forget. You slay it every time -- not only have the nerve to sing that song with such a beautiful melody, but you also had the nerve to wear Jennifer's shoes," Tyler joked.
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