Phillip Phillips may have won American Idol last night, but there’s no doubt that his co-finalist, Jessica Sanchez, also has a huge career ahead of her. And the pint-sized powerhouse says she can’t wait to get started. We caught up with Jessica right after the show, and she shared her thoughts on the finale experience, why she thought Phillip would win, and what her future career will be like.
How are you feeling right now?
Jessica Sanchez: I’m kind of relieved that this whole thing is over but I’m also going to miss everybody here. But I’m going to see my Idol family on tour so I’m thankful for that. And I really think that Phillip deserves to win and I’m so happy for him.
I don’t have any regrets at all. I mean, I made it to top two — that’s crazy! I’m happy.
How did you feel about the judges’ comments about your final song?
I kind of agreed with them. Literally we only had like a day to pick the single, but now that this whole thing is over and I’m going to have time to really put myself into my music, it’s going to be all me. 100 percent me, so I’m excited.
What will your future career be like?
Right now, I really don’t know what to expect. I’ve been in this Idol bubble and now it’s popped, and I don’t know what’s going to happen. But I’m excited to find out.
How was it singing with Jennifer Holliday?
That was insane. I love her so much. I’ve been listening to her ever since I was like 7 years old. We both like dug deep into our hearts and sang the heck out of that song.
Tell us how it felt when they announced the winner.
When they announced that it was Phillip, I was so happy, and I knew it already. That’s why I gave him a big hug and I was smiling the whole time. I was like “This fool is going to win and I love him so much!” He deserved it. Like literally, he has worked harder than all of us. We’ve all been working hard, but he’s been having to deal with his health issues, with his kidneys, and I think he’s been through a lot more than us mentally and physically.
Did you really think Phillip was going to win?
I did! I mean, I told him during Top 3 results that it was going to be him and Joshua [Ledet] and I literally thought that Phillip was going to win the whole thing. Not because Joshua isn’t good, but Phillip has everything about him. He has his funny side and his humble side and he’s just an amazing, original artist. I think we all are talented and I think we all are going to have really successful careers.
How do you see yourself as an artist?
I want to be more like a Rihanna, Beyonce kind of thing, but I don’t want to compare myself to anybody, because I want to be somebody new too. More like the urban R&B kind of stuff, but a little bit of pop. Not straight pop.
Did you get to speak to Rihanna?
I didn’t but I wanted to! When I was walking down the hallway out of dress rehearsal and she was walking behind me and I was like, “Oh my gosh, should I turn around?” I was freaking out.
What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you wake up tomorrow and you’re back to your normal life?
That’s not going to happen for a while (laughs). I’ll be doing press. We’re going to try to work on hopefully my future album, we’re going to try to really get on top of stuff.
What did Phil say to you afterwards?
We really didn’t get to talk to each other. He sang his song and then everybody congratulated him. He was bombarded with people.
What was the most outstanding moment in this whole journey?
There’s been so many, just being with the other contestants, and I think tonight the best moment for me was seeing Phillip win of course and then performing with Jennifer Holliday was amazing. I love her so much. She’s the sweetest and she is a monster of a singer.
Did you get to talk to the judges?
They just said, “Do you.” Going back into the whole pop single kind of thing — “Do you. Don’t let anybody tell you what to do. This doesn’t mean it’s the end of your career. You’ll have a successful career.” They’re really excited for me and I’m excited too!