Hometown: Chula Vista, California
Star power: Jessica wowed crowds on America’s Got Talent when she was just 11.
Watch All of Jessic Sanchez's Performances From American Idol 2012
When 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez says she’s been singing her whole life, she means it. At 11, the Filipino-Mexican-American appeared on America’s Got Talent, where she wowed with her cover of “I Surrender.” Five years later, she’s getting the chance to perform in front of the world again on American Idol Season 11. Before landing on Idol, Jessica was a high school student, hoping to ease the financial burdens of her unemployed mother with her singing career.
Though we didn’t see much of her before Vegas — when she sang “The Prayer” — what we’ve now seen of the San Diego resident makes us wonder where Idol had been hiding her. Jessica wowed the judges — and us — with her take on Jennifer Hudson's "I Love You I Do" in the Semifinals, which earned her a spot in the Top 13.
Over the last couple of months, Jessica has impressed judges and Idol voters with her vocal range and maturity. Her version of Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" was one of her most popular performances, and she soon became a frontrunner for the finale. Facing off against Phillip Phillips in Top 2, we had high hopes that she'd be the first girl to take home the title since Jordin Sparks won Season 6.
Sadly, it was not meant to be. On May 23, 2012, a record-breaking 132 million votes were cast, declaring Phillip the winner of American Idol.
Jessica's runner-up status is still an amazing achievement, and we have no doubt that her talent will snag her a record deal in no time!