Although she may not have won American Idol on Wednesday night, we don’t think that Jessica Sanchez should be too upset with her second-place showing. Or even a little bit upset, frankly. Sure, it would’ve been nice for her to win, but the truth is, there are plenty of reasons for her to be happy despite her runner-up status.

For one thing, there’s a certain amount of pressure that comes along with the title of American Idol. To bring in the most fans to the Idols Live summer tour, to sell the most albums, to have the biggest song on the radio. While there will certainly be expectations for Jessica the music business is, after all, a business! the stakes aren’t quite as high as they tend to be for the winner. We think that can’t be a bad thing for Jessica, who’s only 16 years old.

While a recent report from The Washington Post claims that Jessica is not guaranteed a recording contract, unlike runners-up in seasons past, we have a hard time believing that a contestant as popular as Jessica will not be offered a contract. (Her payout, however, does stand to be lower than that of previous second place finishers.)

Finally, there’s also the fact that not being the winner makes it slightly easier to shed the “reality TV star” label. It’s taken time — and big record sales — for other former Idols to be known as musicians first, and not just another reality competition winner. But for now, simply not being the American Idol winner is a small step Jessica can take in that direction.

All things considered, Jessica is going to be absolutely fine. Winning or not winning hasn’t been an indication of how well a contestant will do in “the real world” since runner-up Clay Aiken handily outsold winner Ruben Studdard all the way back in 2003. We expect great things from Jessica, and look forward to hearing her first single!



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