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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 11

Jessica Sanchez: I didn't really have many choices for 'American Idol' single


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/25/2012 

Jessica Sanchez, a 16-year-old from San Diego, CA, finished as American Idol's eleventh-season runner-up during Wednesday night's live finale broadcast on Fox.

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Jessica was defeated by Phillip Phillips, a 21-year-old pawn shop clerk from Leesburg, GA, who was crowned the show's champion after he received the larger portion of the "132 million" home viewer votes cast immediately following Tuesday night's live performance broadcast that saw Phillips and Sanchez each sing three songs -- including an original written and produced solely for them.

Phillip's victory made him the fifth-straight male finalist to take home Idol's title. To read what Jessica had to tell Reality TV World about that pattern during a Thursday conference call with reporters, click here.

Below are some highlights from Fox's transcript of the rest of Jessica's call with reporters -- including whether she's relieved the stress of the show is over, why she was convinced Phillip was going to win before the results were announced, at what point in the competition she thought she was "pushing too hard," and whether she had much say in selecting her potential winning song which failed to impress the Idol judges.

To read what Phillip had to say during his conference call, click here.

Are you relieved it's over?

Jessica Sanchez: I kind of am, but I'm going to miss everything. I'm going to miss the people, I'm going to miss the schedule, and just the whole craziness. I'm going to miss it.

For your album, I think I heard you say that you wanted to be a similar artist to Beyoncé or Rihanna.  Can you elaborate on that a little bit?

Jessica Sanchez: More like urban R&B and stuff -- a little bit of pop -- but not much.  I want to have that goody kind of side of me, kind of, but not like bubble gum.

What was it like being able to sing with Jennifer Holliday during the finale? That was an amazing performance.

Jessica Sanchez: Thank you so much.  It was so much fun.  I mean I was in the moment and so was she, and we were making like the most ridiculous faces, I know.  We were just really digging deep into our hearts and singing the heck out of that song.

During the season, what advice had you received that was the best advice you're going to carry on with you as you continue your career?

Jessica Sanchez: I've gotten a lot of advice from different people this season, but something that I believed in always, and people told me here, is keep striving for my dreams and if I do succeed, always stay humble and stay grounded and always remember where I came from.

Is there any song that you wanted to sing this season but for whatever reason it just didn't seem right for the week or whatever and you didn't get to?

Jessica Sanchez: I really wanted to sing a Prince song. It's called "How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore." I love that song and I really wanted to do it, but Prince isn't really clearing any songs for any shows right now, so yes.

Well you did perform a good many Whitney Houston songs, and that's tough to begin with. And then Randy Jackson always says, "People should never sing these songs," and you killed them.  How much pressure was that for you to take on all of those?  Were you nervous about doing that, especially after the tragedy earlier this year?

Jessica Sanchez: Most definitely, and you know what? They actually pushed that in there a couple hours before the show started, so I didn't even know I was singing it until a couple hours before the show.  It was a shocking moment for me, but I was excited to sing it because I love the song. I love Whitney Houston; I'm glad I got to pay tribute once again.

Can you kind of talk about what thoughts were running through your head when you were onstage and Ryan Seacrest told you the results? Were you surprised?

Jessica Sanchez: Not at all.  I like literally thought -- I believed that Phillip was going to win, not because I don't think I'm good, but he has such a big fan base.  We both do, and we both thank our fans so much. 

But he's really an artist's artist, like he sang so many different songs and every song that he sang, it sounds like Phillip.  It always sounds like him, and that's what it takes to be a real artist.  I'm so proud of him and I'm so happy with him.

I'm curious, when do you get to go home to Chula Vista next and for how long? And is it totally to kick back with your family or what will you do when you're there?

Jessica Sanchez: I'm not sure.  I'm not sure exactly when I'm going back home, but I know it's going to be for maybe a couple days.  Yes, I'm most definitely going to just be with my family and try to take it all in and enjoy that moment.

It seemed to me that the last few weeks there seemed to be a few missteps, through no fault of your own. Jimmy Iovine acknowledged that the Jackson 5 song wasn't a great choice after the fact, because both Michael and Jermaine had shared the vocals, and your potential winning song you sang on Tuesday didn't impress the judges at all. So can you talk about the process of picking those songs, and did you have a lot of leeway in what you could choose or not?

Jessica Sanchez: For Jimmy Iovine and stuff, that was all them.  I couldn't really choose anything -- that was really their choices.  And for the single, I really had like a day to pick and they didn't give us many choices, and even that I had to make little adjustments to. 

So it was very difficult, but now that I do have time and I do have variety and I can choose and look through songs and work with different producers and stuff, I'm definitely going to make my single, my real single, something that is 100% percent me.

I'm wondering if it was hard for you to come back after The Judges' Save. Did that affect your confidence at all?

Jessica Sanchez: It was difficult and it didn't really affect my confidence -- it made me push harder.  But I think it was also a bad thing, too, because I think I was pushing too hard and I wasn't really feeling any of my songs. I was just trying to prove myself; I was focusing on it way too much.

Did that go away at some point?  Did you feel that pressure sort of taper off as it got later into the season or no?

Jessica Sanchez: It did go away for a little bit, but then when we had to come to the point where we had to sing songs that the judges picked as your music, it was a big challenge because we didn't have any say in any choices -- like they just gave us songs and we did them.

The way Idol always works is that they take a two-hour show and wait practically the entire two hours before they let you know who won.  What was that doing to your head?

Jessica Sanchez: Nothing at all.  I wasn't nervous about anything.  I was actually excited, because I really thought Phillip was going to win and I was so happy for him.  I think he deserves it 100% percent.  I was just happy to be there in the Top 2.  I can't regret anything.

And even though you didn't win, you got a lot of exposure -- second place is still great.  Does it really matter to your career that you didn't come in first place?  Do you think coming in first really would have affected your career any?

Jessica Sanchez: Not at all.  Jennifer Hudson came in like seventh place and she is one of the biggest ones on Idol. I have so much respect for her.  Hopefully, I'm one of those people, and I think all 12 [Top 12] of us are going to have successful careers and I cannot wait.

I know with your father being away so much, you and your brothers are very close.  Can you talk about the toll that this took on your personal life -- not being able to have as much contact with those that you care about?

Jessica Sanchez: It's hard, it's difficult, but I'm learning how to cope with it because I'm taking it as like I'm not really doing this for myself.  I'm doing this for them, too, so it's not really like I'm not being there for them.

Are you excited to be able to spend a little bit more time with them now?

Jessica Sanchez: I'm thrilled.  I won't be spending a lot of time with them, I'll probably get like three days at home, but I'm going to be cherishing every single second I've got.

Looking back, at the end of that week when you got The Judges' Save, what do you think caused you to come in last place?  Do you think it was what you sang or do you think people took for granted how good you were and then didn't vote because they assumed you'd be safe?

Jessica Sanchez: Well I don't know.  It could have been so many things, and I don't really like to think about it.  I did what I wanted to do that week. 

I sang a song that nobody really knew from a not very popular artist and I was fine with that, because if I went home, then I would go home proud of what I sang and liking what I sang.  But I don't know whether it was because people thought I was safe or maybe more because of my song selection, but I don't regret anything.

The support you got from the people in San Diego County, were you shocked or overwhelmed by all that?

Jessica Sanchez: I was very overwhelmed.  I mean, I had never experienced anything like that ever in my life, and it was amazing to have that much support by my hometown.  And I can't wait to go back, and really when I came back for the homecoming story, I really wanted to hug every single person that I saw.

Post Idol, what do you think is going to be the biggest challenge for you in transitioning into this musical career that you're hoping for?

Jessica Sanchez: There is a lot of things.  Right now, we were like in an American Idol bubble, and we were protected by the American Idol staff and we didn't really get to see what was going on out much in the real world.  There's that.

And then the fact that we are known as American Idol contestants, we have to break out and become artists instead of being labeled American Idol contestants.  So it's going to be difficult, but we're all going to work hard and try to get our names out there as a single person.

You've said a bunch of times that you would love to sound and work with Rihanna and/or Beyoncé.  If you had to choose only one of them, who would you pick and why?

Jessica Sanchez: Well I'll start with, I love both of them, but Beyoncé is like -- she is just an amazing person overall.  She seems so sweet and so humble, and she's very private with her life and she's an amazing performer. I mean, she pretty much can do anything. 

Did you have any idea before you auditioned that you would make it this far?

Jessica Sanchez: Not at all.  I didn't even think that I was going to get two minutes on TV.  I mean, I was hopeful, but I didn't even think, "Yes." I feel blessed to even be in this position right now.

If you could go back and change one performance what would it be?

Jessica Sanchez: I mean, I don't think there really would be anything.  I mean, I went into this competition and I just sang my heart out, and I really have no regrets at all.  I made Top 2 -- not a lot of people can say that -- so I'm happy. So, I'm content with where I am.

You famously did a tribute to Whitney Houston. It gave the "goosies," as Jennifer Lopez would say.  On the tour will you be doing a solo tribute to Donna Summer?

Jessica Sanchez: I'm not even sure what I'm going to be doing on the tour yet, I mean we'll see.  I'm looking forward to it.

With any competition, you always size up your competitors and whom you're going up against.  Who did you feel early on was going to be your biggest competition?

Jessica Sanchez: All of them. We were all different genres, different types of music style, and it was a difficult one.  So it was all a big challenge for not only us, but -- Yes, I thought it was pretty fair and pretty scary, too.

What was the high point for you during the season -- your very best performance?  And have you heard from famous fans?

Jessica Sanchez: I mean, I'm not really sure.  I mean I loved singing a number of songs on the show...  I have gotten some Tweets from celebrities before, and it's been a blessing.  It's been a crazy journey and I'm going to miss it.

You are basically the whole package and already a star, but you have mentioned that you're not the best dancer.  Is dancing something that you want to practice and incorporate into your performances from now on?

Jessica Sanchez: Most definitely.  Yes, I'm really trying to work on that.  So we'll figure it out and hopefully I can get some movement.

There was some criticism from Jimmy Iovine about some of your outfits this season, particularly that they were a little bit too grown up.  And I was just wondering if you could talk a bit about the fashion. How much input did you have into what you wore and how did you feel about what people were saying about that one particular dress?

Jessica Sanchez: Okay.  I do have a lot of say in what I wear. If I don't like something, I make sure I tell them and they always cooperate and try to fit with what I want.  I did love that dress, and I think after watching the performance, that I thought it was a bit too much. My hair was big, I was dancing, I had the small dress on -- I understand why he was making those comments.

Now that American Idol is over, what do you plan to do with your downtime?  Are you going to vacation with your family or anything?

Jessica Sanchez: I have like no downtime at all.  I have like three days to go home and just relax, but that's about it and then I get back to work.  So I'm excited for those three days, but most definitely I'm going to be working most of the time.

Most teenagers woke up this morning and went to class, and you woke up this morning as a runner-up on American Idol.  What exactly does this all mean to you?

Jessica Sanchez: It really means the world.  I've been wanting this ever since I was a little girl, and I just want people to know, kids my age, that if you really put your mind to it, you can achieve anything that you want.  I've been doing this ever since I was little and I've been working hard ever since I was little, so you just have to put your mind to it and it will happen.

We're from the Philippines. Do you have a message for them?

Jessica Sanchez: Just that I love you guys so much and hopefully we can stop by when we're on tour.  Nothing is confirmed yet, but I would love to.

We got to talk to your mom last night.  She was really sweet, and she said you had never been.  We were wondering what sort of Filipino traits do you think you got from your mother?

Jessica Sanchez: I'm not really sure.

Do you have a favorite Filipino dish?

Jessica Sanchez: I love lumpia and I love sinigang.

I know that you and Jesse McCartney have been Tweeting back and forth about doing a duet together, and I was wondering if you would tell us a little bit about that.

Jessica Sanchez: Well nothing's been confirmed yet and I've been really busy.  So, yes, nothing's really been done yet or talked about, so we'll see what happens.

Do you have any closing remarks?

Jessica Sanchez: Just want to thank all my fans for supporting me and for giving me the opportunity to make it this far.  Thank you so much and love you.

To read what Jessica had to tell Reality TV World about five straight male finalists winning American Idol during the Thursday conference call with reporters, click here. To read what Phillip had to say during his conference call, click here.

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