No regrets, Jessica Sanchez

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Jessica and Phillip await their fate on 'American Idol.' Photo by FOX

NEW YORK CITY—On May 21, I stuck my neck out for Jessica Sanchez. I proclaimed in a rather self-indulgent essay – that was widely published and reposted – that the 16-year-old Filipina-Mexican-American would be the new American Idol.

Why did I do that? As a long-time viewer of the show, I was secure in the thought that I knew what the show was looking for in its “winners,” confident also that Jessica was out there meeting those standards and backed up by overwhelming voting numbers. AI after all is a talent competition where voting by the public also carries a lot of weight.

The night of the finals on May 22, I was home but bracing for an all-nighter of Facebook postings and photo-sharing of Jessica as they streamed from the FOX media headquarters. I was an accredited journalist. Around that time, I just had dinner and was preparing to wash the dishes — the excitement of the evening electrifying my whole being.

On May 21, I stuck my neck out for Jessica Sanchez. I proclaimed in a rather self-indulgent essay – that was widely published and reposted – that the 16-year-old Filipina-Mexican-American would be the new American Idol.

Why did I do that? As a long-time viewer of the show, I was secure in the thought that I knew what the show was looking for in its “winners,” confident also that Jessica was out there meeting those standards and backed up by overwhelming voting numbers. AI after all is a talent competition where voting by the public also carries a lot of weight.

The night of the finals on May 22, I was home but bracing for an all-nighter of Facebook postings and photo-sharing of Jessica as they streamed from the FOX media headquarters. I was an accredited journalist. Around that time, I just had dinner and was preparing to wash the dishes — the excitement of the evening electrifying my whole being.

Minutes before the proclamation, I turned off my cell phone. I thought I’d turn it back on shortly after Jessica’s name was heralded as the first Asian-Latina Idol. By which time, I expected my Facebook wall to see a deluge of posts congratulating me for my prophetic boast.

Instead, host Ryan Seacrest announced the title went to Phillip Phillips. At first I was shocked. For a moment my mind went blank and then later I felt like I was robbed. I couldn’t believe what I just heard. I couldn’t believe the consistently flawless Jessica Sanchez lost. I couldn’t believe I was wrong.

Never did I think that the finals would play a huge impact in the end game. I thought Jessica sang pretty well every time she appeared on the show. By comparison, Phillips earned his only standing ovation that night.

I am appalled at the final outcome, and here’s why. Though the finale took a big chunk of the judging process, the voting public remains the ultimate decider. I may have underestimated the judges’ ability to influence the voters but I was counting on Jessica’s millions of followers both here and overseas.

The tight contest had Idol fanatics swinging between Jessica’s vocal prowess and Phillip’s devil-may-care crooning style and adorable looks.

But reality bites. An unprecedented 130 million-plus votes were counted. I wondered how many came from abroad and how many from America. Of the overseas votes, I wanted to know how many came from the Philippines.

Phillip may have won the competition, but the night echoed with how splendidly Jessica’s “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” duet with Jennifer Holliday went. Both had inimitable power vocals and Jessica held her own alongside the Grammy winning singer from “Dreamgirls.”

Jessica was very poised and did not appear intimidated at all.

Thank you, Jessica, for your time and for bringing the Filipinos closer to an Idol trophy. Most importantly, thank you for the gift of music you so passionately shared with the world. I had no regrets rooting openly for you and will do it again to any Filipino who is a genuine talent and, by my measure, truly deserving.

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  • Diepor

    Love songs with power vocals are not what they are looking for in a talent , its outdated . Ofcourse the Filipinos can not understand this , here everybody loves those songs with a lot of vocalmasturbation. The rest of the world has moved on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/norman.deguzman.90 Norman de Guzman

    I realized there is such a curse in the american idol that is those who get the ai trophy and title at the end of the competition their record sales never reach the highest level after idol.while the runnerup get most biggest number of record sales like adam lambert jennifer hudson cris daughtry david archuleta clay aiken.i dont know maybe i am too superstitious on this.thats why when i observed jessica she was happy to be the runner up.

  • Hfxwst

    Jessica would have been the winner on “The Voice”.  Philip had Stage Presence as well as talent.  Philip was never in the bottom 3 – it appears his votes were consistent throughout the competition.

    The “Big Song” approach used by Jessica and Joshua makes for good theater, but does not attract the votes in the USA. The USA has moved beyond “My Way”, the Philippines needs to also.

    Philip won because he attracted more votes, and congratulations to him for that, it is how you win the competition.  He was a humble winner, Jessica was a graceful 2nd place finisher.  No excuses!

    • Burundoymuta

       You’ve really figured it out ha! When you said USA has moved beyond “My Way” and the Philippines needs to also, then why would Jessica win on “The Voice”? Is this show also an American talent show? What, USA has already moved and left The Voice behind? Like  i said, US will say things (that are not necessarily true) to justify their choice of winner as long as he is a WGWG. No excuses!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XYSU75JJODXJSSWEJFVCXJ324U Jonathan

     ANG ISINISIGAW NG MGA FILIPINO-AMERICANS AY
    “PHILIPPINES…PHILIPPINES”… PERO ANG PAGKADINIG NG MGA IDOL JUDGES AY
    “”PHILLIP PHILLIPS…PHILLIP PHILLIPS”… AYAN NANALO TULOY SI PHILLIP
    PHILLIPS

  • Burundoymuta

    as i see it, jessica has used different approaches not just the “big voice approach” the entire competition. Sadly, america sees only one approach, the WGWG approach.

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