It takes a lot of guts to tackle Whitney Houston’s signature song, “I Will Always Love You,” but 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez made it look easy and earned a standing ovation during American Idol’s Top 13 performances. Maybe it’s because she’s used to singing in front of millions. This America’s Got Talent veteran has quickly become the favorite to win Season 11. When Wetpaint Entertainment spoke to the impressive powerhouse singer, we were surprised to learn — based on the few performances we’ve seen (and we can’t wait to hear more) — that Jessica considers herself to be a Beyoncé-style artist. It’s clear she can handle the ballads; we’re excited see her rock it a little more!
Wetpaint Entertainment: How did it feel to find out that early in the show that you made it?
Jessica Sanchez: When they called me up, I was a nervous wreck. I wanted to cry so bad. Even though I did perform better than I did in rehearsals the other night, I felt confident but nervous because everybody here is so amazing. So there was a little worry there, but I made it and I'm so happy to be here.
What's your style of music and what can we expect going forward?
I guess you can compare me to Beyoncé. I can sing ballads but I can also do that urban kind of stuff.
Who would be your dream mentor on the show?
It would be Beyoncé. Love Beyoncé.
If you can sing any song, what would it be?
"How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore" by Prince. I love that song. That song is amazing.
With young contestants, the judges have said how important song choice is. How will you let your youth steer your choices?
I think we can all sing whatever song we want, but we have to find a way to pull it off and make it our own style.
Do you think there are some things you can't sing?
Well, of course like provocative stuff and all that. We all try to keep all young and fresh and new but still classic.
Have you worked with some famous people?
What do you mean by famous? Not professionally, but it's been all a jumble. I've met people in the music industry, but I haven't really worked with anybody. So this is my chance. I'm going to work hard for it.
What do you think your image is?
I really want to go into that mainstream kind of stuff, so more urban, pop-ish kind of stuff. But I don't want to be provocative and showing skin and all that. Got to keep it young but also new and fresh and...
Are you open to changing your physical appearance for Idol?
Of course if they have suggestions, they're only looking out for the best for me, so I'm open to suggestions.
Do you have a significant other?
No, I'm single.
Who do you see as your biggest competition?
Everyone here is so amazing. My biggest competition would have to be Joshua [Ledet] and Hollie [Cavanagh] just because Hollie can belt and Josh is just out of this world. He's amazing.
It's been a few years since a woman won Idol. Why are you prepared to break that streak?
I think a girl should win. We need to break the streak. I should just — even if it isn't me, I'm ready for a girl to win.
Have the judges' critiques been useful?
It's been very useful. I'm a perfectionist, so I want everything to be perfect. And the criticism I don't take very hard because I can fix what I need to fix.
What have they critiqued that you took to heart?
My vibrato. In the past rounds they've told me that my vibrato was a bit thick, so I've been working on that. Just the performance and all that.
What's the most outrageous, ridiculous song you've done at karaoke?
I guess when I was younger, I used to do "I Will Always Love You" at karaoke. You know, like the real, Asian karaoke, "Power of Love" and all that. That's some real Asian karaoke right there.