'American Idol' runner-up Jessica Sanchez hopes to follow in Jennifer Hudson's footsteps
On Wednesday night in Los Angeles, Phillip Phillips was named the next “American Idol.” On Thursday morning, runner-up Jessica Sanchez could not have been happier about her second-place finish on the show. Taking it all in stride, the 16-year-old prodigy, who gave Jennifer Lopez ‘the goosies,’ spoke to CTV.ca in an upbeat and inspiring conference call about her future.
After auditioning in her hometown of San Diego, Calif., at the age of 15, Sanchez never thought her run on the show would translate into career success.
“Not at all, I didn’t even think I was going to get two minutes on TV. I was hopeful, but I feel blessed to even be in this position right now,” said a thankful Sanchez.
Less than 12 hours removed from the excitement of the “Idol” season, Sanchez was already preparing for life after the show, but could not refrain from reflecting on the camaraderie and lifestyle that came from being an “American Idol” contestant.
“I’m going to miss everything. I’m going to miss the people; I’m going to miss the schedule, and just all the craziness.”
While Sanchez is prepared to accept the difficulties that coincide with being a finalist on reality TV’s biggest platform, she is also eager to branch out and establish herself and her music as individual entities after being limited to a selection of songs on the show. Sanchez said it was hard when the songs did not always reflect who she was and who she hopes to ultimately become.
“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 different producers and stuff, I’m definitely going to make a single, a real single, something that is 100 per cent me.”
What may surprise some is that Sanchez did not expect to win “Idol,” and she did not shy away from speaking extensively about the qualities which made friend and fellow finalist Phillip Phillips the right choice.
“I believed that Phillip was going to win… He’s really an artist’s artist. He sang so many different songs, and every song that he sang sounded like Phillip, it always sounds like him. That’s what it takes to be a good artist, and I’m so proud of him and happy it was him.”
Following a season where she performed well-received renditions of songs from the likes of Mariah Carey, The Jackson 5, Whitney Houston and Celine Dion, Sanchez made clear that her sound will agree with most expectations of her.
“Urban, R&B… a little bit of pop.”
While she is thrilled that Phillip Phillips was crowned the “American Idol,” Sanchez admitted that it was bittersweet as she would have liked to bring an end to the streak of male winners on a show that has not had a female victor since Jordin Sparks in the sixth season.
“The only reason I would have really wanted to win would be to break that whole guy reign and have a girl win it for once,” she said.
While Sanchez may have not broken the curse, she did mention the success of another “Idol” alumna as reason to not panic anytime soon about her future.
“Jennifer Hudson came in seventh-place and she’s one of the biggest ones on ‘Idol,’ and you know I have so much respect for her. Hopefully I’m one of those people.”
While most 16-year-old teenagers woke up on Thursday morning and left for high school, Sanchez was waking up to weeks of media appearances, a scheduled “Idol” tour and a planned debut album. She says she’s been working relentlessly for a long time and hopes her victory inspires others, especially her fellow youth, to work hard for what they love, too.
“It really means the world. I’ve been wanting this ever since I was a little girl, and I just want people to know, and 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 need to put your mind to it and it will happen.”
Amid the pandemonium that comes with being an “American Idol” finalist, Sanchez shared advice that has served her well through her life.
“Keep striving for my dreams, and if I do succeed, always stay humble, stay grounded and always remember where I came from.”