American Idol 2012 Runner-Up Jessica Sanchez: “I Believed That Phillip Was Going to Win”
Credit: Michael Becker/FOX ©2012 Fox Broadcasting Co.    
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American Idol

American Idol 2012 Runner-Up Jessica Sanchez: “I Believed That Phillip Was Going to Win”

After a record-breaking 132 million votes, American Idol viewers crowned Phillip Phillips as their Season 11 winner. It wasn’t the easiest choice, as runner-up Jessica Sanchez had arguably the most rabid fanbase next to Phillip’s.

A frontrunner from the beginning, she’s been called “the one to beat” by mentor Jimmy Iovine, and judge Steven Tyler was so convinced she’d win that he blurted it out during the Top 3 performances. In a media conference call earlier today, the 16-year-old powerhouse singer told us about her hopes post-Idol, the song she tried to sing but couldn’t, and how coming back from elimination affected her performances.

Below are excerpts from her interview for your reading enjoyment:

What does she want her album to sound like? Like urban, R&B stuff, a little bit of pop but not much. I want to have that goody kinda side of me, but not like bubblegum.

What was it like being eliminated and then saved during the Top 7?
It was difficult. It didn't really affect my confidence. It made me push harder, but I think it was also a bad thing too because I was pushing too hard and I wasn't really feeling any of my songs. I was just trying to prove myself.

Did she think she’d make it this far when she originally auditioned?
Not at all. I didn’t even think that I was gonna get two minutes on TV.

How did she feel during the two-hour finale?
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. He’s really an artist artist. He’s sung so many different songs and every song that he sang it sounds like Phillip and it only 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 it was him.

What challenges does she face launching her post-Idol career?
Right now we're 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 much in the real world. There's that, and we are known as American Idol contestants, so I’m gonna have to break out and become an artists, instead of being labeled an American Idol contestant. It’s gonna be difficult, but we’re all gonna work hard and try to get our names out there.

What song did she wish she could have sang on Idol?
I really wanted to sing a Prince song and 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.

Did she feel pressure about singing Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” so soon after the singer’s death?
Most definitely, I mean they actually pushed that in there a couple of hours before the show started, so I didn't even know I was singing it until a couple hours before the show. It was like a shocking moment for me, but I was excited to sing it because I love the song, I love Whitney Houston, and I’m glad I got to pay tribute once again.

How involved was she in picking her “coronation single” for the finale?
For the single, I only had like a day to pick and they didn’t give us many choices, and even then I had to make little adjustments to it. 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 ready to make my single, my real single, something that is 100% me.

Does she prefer Rihanna or Beyonce?
I love both of them, but Beyonce is like, she’s just an amazing person overall. She seems so sweet and so humble, and she’s very private with her life, she’s an amazing performer. She pretty much can do anything.

Can a woman win the competition in the future?
I have no idea. I think my only disappointment will be that the only reason I would have really wanted to win is just to break that whole guy reign and just have a girl win it for once. It didn't even have to be me, it could have been Hollie [Cavanagh] or Skylar [Laine].

Does it matter to her that she didn’t win?
Not at all. Jennifer Hudson came in like 7th place, and she’s one of the biggest ones on Idol. I have so much respect for her and hopefully I’m one of those people. I think all 12 of us are going to have successful careers and I can’t wait.

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05.25.2012 / 05:46 AM EDT by Tiffany Wan
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