Jessica Sanchez Biography
Jessica Sanchez, the eldest of three siblings, was born on August 4, 1995 in Chula Vista, California to Gilbert and Editha Sanchez. Her father is Mexican American and originally from Texas; her mother is Filipina and originally hailed from Bataan province in the Philippines. Her maternal grandfather, Eddie Bugay, is a retired U.S. Navy sailor.
America's Got Talent
Sanchez was first seen on television in the first season of America's Got Talent at the age of 11.
Earlier in the show, Sanchez was not chosen to be in the semi-finals, but judge Brandy Norwood chose her to advance toward the Wildcard round.
In October 2009, Sanchez recorded a cover of "Don't Stop the Music" by Rihanna for iTunes with independent record label Spin Move Records. The following spring, Sanchez recorded another single with Spin Move Records, a cover of Etta James' "I'd Rather Go Blind" for YouTube and exclusive download on the label's website.
"We Are the World" remake
Sanchez was one of the singers in Lisa Lavie's collaboration video "We Are the World 25 for Haiti (YouTube Edition)" for charity relief for victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, along with later America's Got Talent contestant and earlier American Idol finalist Thia Megia from the previous season. The video's participants were collectively recognized as "Persons of the Week" on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer on Friday, March 19, 2010.
On July 8, 2011, Jessica auditioned for the eleventh season of American Idol in her hometown of San Diego, California. Her group performance with Deandre Brackensick and Candice Glover with an updated version of Buddy Holly's "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" got a standing ovation from the three judges. Randy Jackson was astonished by Jessica's performance, and her group advanced to the next round. Later, she advanced to the semi-finals.
In the semi-finals, Sanchez performed Jennifer Hudson's "Love You I Do" from the film Dreamgirls where she got the only standing ovation of the evening from the three judges. Jackson called it "one of the best of the last two nights". Jennifer Lopez stated, "the whole thing is really really so beyond your years". Steven Tyler commended her "exceptional timing" and added, "Your voice is perfect, your pitch is perfect." She was one of the top five female vote getters that advanced to the top 13. Her rendition of "I Will Always Love You" sung on Whitney Houston night on March 7, 2012 got rave reviews with Tyler saying, "You may be the one." and a speechless Lopez called her "just amazing". Jackson responded, "You not only are the best vocal of the night, I think you are one of the best singers in this whole competition!" and named Sanchez "one of the best talents in the whole country". CNN's HLN News Now reported that she brought the judges to their feet. With the lone standing ovation of the night just as before, her name became a worldwide trend on Twitter the following day. When the video of the performance was uploaded to Youtube, it received five million views in three days.
For her top 11 performance, Sanchez received constructive criticism from the judges for her rendition of Gloria Estefan's version of Vicki Sue Robinson's "Turn the Beat Around". Jackson said, "The problem for me was the song choice. You got the big old voice. The song does not allow you to show that". Lopez agreed, "your voice has such a strong vibrato, which is so beautiful on certain songs", while Tyler advised "you can't stray too far from what I think you sing the best which is ballads."
On Billy Joel night, Sanchez earned another standing ovation from the judges after singing "Everybody Has a Dream". Tyler said, "When God was giving out vocal cords, you were so at the front of the line". Lopez noted, "that was a defining moment for you", while Jackson lauded it as "flawless" and "perfection". The next week, Sanchez acknowledged her personal idol by singing a slow tempo of Beyonce's "Sweet Dreams". Lopez described it as a "really beautiful rendition", Tyler called it "delicious", while Jackson declared "you're one of the best singers I've heard in many years. Unbelievable. Sensational". In the top 8 round, she introduced her alter ego, "BeBe Chez", to cover an upbeat Whitney Houston song "How Will I Know". Lopez raved about her "powerhouse vocals", while Tyler said, "Your voice is so fantastic. Everything you do is beautiful. Everything you do is great." For his part, Jackson stated, "You did an amazing job ... I can't believe the maturity in you." Her duet of George Michael and Aretha Franklin's "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" with fellow contestant Joshua Ledet got a standing ovation from the judges, prompting Jackson to declare "Two of the greatest singers to ever hit this competition ... This is one of the greatest performances I have seen on this show".
For the top 7 Week on April 11, 2012, she sang Jazmine Sullivan's "Stuttering" to which, Jackson declared, "you set the bar really high ... That was superb. That was at the highest degree". Tyler affirmed, "every time I hear you sing, I forget where I am", with Lopez commenting, "you have, probably more than anybody, an amazing opportunity to really take this American Idol audience on a ride like they've never been" and urged her to go for impactful performances. The following night revealed that she received the lowest number of votes leaving the judges stunned while the audience erupted in disapproval. She began to sing Deborah Cox's "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here", when Lopez ran on stage and cut her off mid-performance. The three judges declared on stage that they are unanimous in using their one-time "Judges' Save", a veto that was introduced beginning in the eighth season. A visibly upset Jackson chided, "This girl is one of the best singers in America, ever ... Please everybody, please vote for the best. It's about finding the best." This made her the first female and the fourth finalist in American Idol history spared from elimination.
For the second week of top 7, Sanchez pleased the judges with her take on Alicia Keys’ "Fallin'". "Your talent is so other worldly. I don’t even know if you know how good you really are and how great you can even be," Jackson remarked. "With talent like yours, you have the right to get mad at a song. That was the passion that you released," was Tyler's response. Lopez concurred, "I’m glad you’re still here and we had a save and used it on you." Her rendition of Otis Redding’s "Try a Little Tenderness" left Lopez critiquing, "The vocal ability is so great, that we need to start connecting with you here [heart]. Just the voice is not gonna do it". Tyler noted, "I like that fact that you’re stepping out. It's all about stepping out and winning these people's hearts". Jackson echoed similar comment saying, "Where you should grow now is really just in connecting with the emotion with the lyrics."
On Queen night, Sanchez performed Bohemian Rhapsody. Tyler opined that rock music is not her forte. Still, he remarked, "Freddie Mercury would have been proud to hear that." Lopez agreed that the vocal was beautiful but "needed a bit more of that rock performance". "You hit the high notes, you sounded beautiful," said Jackson but he wanted her to channel a little Tina Turner. Her rendition of Luther Vandross' Dance with My Father earned rave reviews. "The tenderness, the feeling, your vocal ability, everything. The feeling, more than anything, is what makes me say that it was the most beautiful I've ever heard it," Lopez gushed. "Your voice is so different than anybody else is. It kind of touches on Whitney," Tyler enthused and added it was a joy and honor to watch her evolve on the show. Jackson thought it was beyond reproach saying, "Now you got that feeling in there, and that's what was always a little bit missing for me. But now, you're making that connection."
After the conclusion of the top 4, she is the last surviving female contestant in the Idol competition. Sanchez has received six unanimous standing ovations for her competitive performances from the judges, four from solo performances, one for group performance, and one for a duet. She also received a partial standing ovation on Top 3 performance show (from Steven Tyler. This made her one of the front-runners in the competition.
On Top 3 Performance, Jessica Sanchez sung three songs, "My All" by Mariah Carey (Lopez's choice), "I'll Be There" by The Jackson 5, Iovine's choice, and "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith. For "My All", Tyler predicted she would win the competition, "When you sing, you make people hang on your every note. "I hope you get used to encores. And on another crazy note, I think you'll be the last person standing there." For "I'll Be There", Tyler said, "Perfect song, perfect voice, you nailed it, delicious" and Lopez stated "It was perfect for the tone in your voice. You almost sounded like Michael." Jackson did not like the performance, saying, "Once again, we're at the end here, and you're on the stage with all these other dynamic singers. There was never a moment moment." For "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing", she received a standing ovation from Steven Tyler, who said "You just took a great song and made it greater. Thank you Diane Warren for writing that for me and for getting her to sing it as well as you did...beautiful." Lopez also loved the performance, saying: "That was amazing. That note in the end! Oh, wow. Sends everybody into the heavens. Really, really great job, baby!" Jackson said, "I was waiting on a big moment and dude, you delivered man."
In the Top 2 finale, Sanchez performed three songs including Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing", which was chosen by Simon Fuller, the show's creator. The following night in the results show, she finished as the runner-up of the season after 132 million votes were cast by the viewers.
All nine Chula Vista recreation centers, the public library, police and fire stations, and several schools have devoted signs, banners, or marquees in praise of Sanchez. Auto parks in Chula Vista and National City have giant signs that urge people to vote for her. Several "View and Vote" parties organized by fans, friends, and family of the finalist are held in Chula Vista including at "Oggi’s Pizza Eastlake Sports Bar & Grill", the "Eastlake Tavern & Bowl", "The Brew House at Eastlake", and "Seau's The Restaurant". On April 18, 2012, Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox joined fans donning "Jessica" shirts and buttons at a voting party. She urged her city to rally behind Sanchez and said, "Jessica is an amazingly talented young woman. Her poise, professionalism and stunning voice defies her young age. I am very proud she is not only representing Chula Vista but San Diego County and the entire West Coast." Wearing a "Jessica" shirt in a Youtube video, U.S. Rep. Bob Filner for California's 51st congressional district urged San Diego to vote for her on April 18, 2012. On May 9, 2012, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders declared Sanchez as the best performer of this season's American Idol and called on the public to vote for her.
On May 12, 2012, the city of Chula Vista welcomed hometown resident and top 3 finalist Jessica Sanchez at Eastlake High School football stadium. Mayor Cox proclaimed that day as "Jessica Sanchez Day" in the celebration featuring a procession, rally and mini concert. Sanchez was welcomed by about 6,000 supporters as she rode a parade accompanied by the school's color guards and marching band. After she sang three songs at the mini-concert, cheers from the crowd spurred her to an encore performance. The second part of the homecoming was on the flight deck of USS Midway Museum in downtown San Diego, where she sang the national anthem and performed three songs before a crowd of about 4,000 aficionados. American Idol camera crews filmed the homecoming and was aired on May 16, 2012 on FOX.
Music industry support
In the semi-finals round, Grammy Award-winner India.Arie tweeted, "They might as well give it to Jessica Sanchez now. She's good but mostly she's SEASONED". In the top 13 round, Grammy Award-winning singer and guest vocal coach Mary J. Blige was blown away letting out an excited squeak and called her rehearsal "amazing, impeccable." Guest performer and runner-up of American Idol season 10 Lauren Alaina named Sanchez and Colton Dixon as her two favorites to win. She earned a Twitter praise from Idol season 3 alumna Jennifer Hudson. In the top 11 round, guest mentor will.i.am was so impressed that he dubbed her "Swaggernaut", which he defined as "out-of-space swag". She gained an endorsement from The Black Eyed Peas rapper apl.de.ap, and a ringing endorsement from The X Factor season 1 finalist Chris Rene.
In the top 10 round, her performance earned praise from Billy Joel. Guest performer and third place finalist of American Idol season 10 Haley Reinhart said, "She’s got the whole package. She’s got a huge voice and she’s so young! I can’t believe it." and admits she's rooting for Sanchez this season. In the top 9 round, a video of her performance was featured at the top of the home page of Beyonce's official website. Adam Lambert, runner-up for the eighth season of American Idol, tweeted that "Jessica Sanchez is a STAR." and praised her vocal abilities. Lee DeWyze, winner of the ninth season of American Idol, named Sanchez as one of his two picks this season. Following the top 8 round, Idol season 10 alumna Naima Adedapo thinks Sanchez should win. Kris Allen, winner of the eighth season of American Idol, named Sanchez as one of his two favorites for being "so consistent and so like effortless".
In the first week of top 7, guest mentor Akon wanted to sign her up right then, saying "I knew like from Day One, I said she's going to be a legend one day. I believe it, I really do." American Idol season 10 finalist Pia Toscano noted, "Jessica's pitch is so crazy good it's not even normal." Dove Award-winner Rachael Lampa regards Sanchez as the best and was puzzled how she ended up in the bottom. Grammy and Tony Award-winner Jennifer Holliday actively tweets in support of Sanchez often calling her "Little Soul-Angel". She admitted, "I do not usually vote for any one on American Idol. Jessica really touched my heart, so I wanted to support her!" Record producer and songwriter Toby Gad is eager to make records with her, and believes she should win this competition. In the second week of top 7, Idol season 7 finalist Carly Smithson referred to Sanchez as a star with an amazing voice, and urged fans to vote for her. Thia Megia expressed support for her friend and believed that the judges made the right choice in saving her on top 7 elimination night. Singer-songwriter Jesse McCartney is looking forward to working with her on a duet. He tweeted, "She's got my VOTE! For real! She's unbelievable!"
After watching her sing "Dance With My Father" in the top 6 round, Grammy Award-winner Richard Marx tweeted, "Killer job! You did Luther and me proud." Idol season 8 finalist Matt Giraud regards Sanchez as his favorite this season. Grammy Award-winner Colbie Caillat tweeted that Sanchez has to be one of the best singers on the planet. In the top 5 round, third place finalist of American Idol season 5 Elliott Yamin referred to Sanchez as his pick to win. Idol season 5 finalist Ace Young stated, "She blows me away," while his fiancé and runner-up for the third season of American Idol Diana DeGarmo is in awe of her "killer voice". The couple confessed, "We're kinda Team Sanchez." In the top 4 round, Idol season 5 alumna Mandisa Hundley wants to go on record that Sanchez is one of her two favorites. Third place finalist of American Idol season 3 Jasmine Trias is rooting for Sanchez and urged fans to vote for her. Jimmy Iovine revealed that music producer Tommy Mottola expressed admiration for Sanchez saying that she's "the real thing" and that he wants to be at her first concert.
Following the top 3 round, singer-songwriter David Choi believes she is one of the best singers in the world and wants her to win. Tears for Fears lead vocalist Curt Smith disclosed that he had picked Sanchez from the very beginning. Filipino youtube sensation Charice Pempengco also believes Sanchez will win. Journey lead singer Arnel Pineda has thrown his support behind Sanchez and congratulated her for making the finale. Joe Jonas of the pop-rock band Jonas Brothers believed that Sanchez would win the competition saying "I think she's gonna win it. She's amazing! She's so talented. I think she'll have a parade when she comes home. I would love to work with her."
TV personality Ross Mathews noted that Sanchez should win American Idol and that he is "totally on board." Extra host and actor Mario Lopez, who also grew up in Chula Vista, admits that he is rooting for his hometown girl and was relieved when she was saved from elimination. Glee star Jane Lynch said the judges were "absolutely correct" for saving her, and expressed admiration for her talent despite her age. On April 18, 2012, The Joy Luck Club actress Ming-Na urged fans to vote repeatedly for Sanchez to "keep our sister competing". She wrote that of all the talented people competing this year, she was just "blown away" by Sanchez's talent. True Grit actress Hailee Steinfeld made her choice known when she tweeted, "Jessica Sanchez is my girl!" Footloose actor Kenny Wormald opined that Sanchez would win any season on any singing show. Shake It Up star Zendaya Coleman is delighted to see Sanchez reach the finale.