Jessica’s ‘Idol’ bid foiled by tilt’s defining demographic


SANCHEZ. The first day of her new life as a certified singing star has only just begun.AP

For some years now, we’ve toned down our “emotional investment” in “American Idol,” because we feel that the singing search’s choice of winners has been unfairly canted in favor of young, white male singers, due to its followers’ predominantly teen, female demographic.

The last female “AI” winner was Jordin Sparks, who won way back in 2007, so why fully support a talent tilt that subjectively favors boy-next-door types over singers who can really sing?

At the start of the 2011 season however, two finalists emerged—Joshua and Jessica —who radically ran counter to the show’s traditional template in choosing its top idols. Both young talents were dark-skinned, but sang like nobody’s business and thus survived from week to week.

Final bets

In fact, a judge daringly predicted that the final two “AI” bets this season to slug it out for the title could be—Joshua and Jessica!

True enough, as the remaining finalists were voted out from week to agonizing week, “J and J” continued to hang on— until that horrible day, some weeks ago, when Jessica Sanchez experienced the bitter pain of being eliminated from the finals, which was reversed by the surge of ecstasy that came when the show’s judges used their only “save” vote for the season to give her a new lease on life!

And so, the weekly eliminations continued—but from then on, Jessica’s Fil-Mexican supporters, having been given the scare of their lives, realized that they could never let down their guard, and had to vote for their chosen star until she had won the title—or “died” trying to.

That “do or die” attitude worked wonders for Jessica’s “title fight,” as other female contestants were eliminated, including the pert and pretty Carrie Underwood look-alike, Hollie. When she was kicked out, it was big news to “AI” followers, because in many aspects of the tilt’s favored total performing package, Hollie had what it took to go all the way.  And yet, more voters had favored Jessica over her! Clearly, something was going on.

Then came the penultimate week, when even the hugely gifted Joshua bit the dust — but Jessica’s bid, contra mundum, stayed alive! Now, she was positioned squarely face to face—and voice-to-voice—against the tilt’s traditional favored bet, Phillip Phillips, who was young, cute, boy-next-door and WASP, like winners, David Cook and Scotty McCreery, before him. How could Jessica win over him?


For her to do so, the entire “American Idol” tradition and ethos would have to be turned upside-down, and shaken to its very foundation. Its millions of viewer-voters would have to reorient their priorities and favor talent over preferred looks and gender. Was that seminal change too deep and too much to wish for? Jessica’s followers voted in the millions, but so did Phillip’s more traditionally-oriented diehards.

Last Thursday, after a record 132 million votes had been counted, Phillip Phillips won the 2011-2012 “American Idol” contest.  It was a key lesson in competition, packaging—and demographics.

But the fact that Jessica garnered as many votes as she did (will we ever be told how many?) indicates that the next “AI” season may yet pull a big surprise on everyone concerned.

Something is changing, that’s for sure, only it didn’t change fast enough to affect this year’s results.

Jessica doesn’t have to worry about her career prospects, however. No less than top music starmaker, Tommy Mottola, has a debut record deal already lined up for her.

The first day of her new life as a certified singing star has only just begun!

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  • Copernicus99

    It’s just a singing contest. She lost. Get over it!

  • brownmj

    Since the beginning, mababa talaga ang votes ni Jessica.  Kaya nga muntik na syang ma kick out.  Si-nave lang sya ng judges.  Dapat noon pa wala na sya.  The proof is in the pudding.  Phillip’s album sales have been consistently either number 1 or number 2.  Jessica’s single is not even in the top 100s.  Her album is number 13 though.  I voted for Jessica so many times that night, but in the end, Phillip’s fans voted more.  That’s the story! 

  • Budoy

    puro pa ka lechehan tong author.  sumali si Jessica, malayo din narating at natalo in the end.  tapos na kwento.  move on and get a life.  kahit naman nanalo yan, ano pakialam nya sa Pinas? may epekto ba yan sa gasolina, sa pangkabuhayan, etc.?  wala ngang pakialam yan sa Pinas at mga Pinoy na mahilig makisawsaw basta may dugong Pinoy ang sumisikat. Pwe

  • QQU

    Mr. Bugaboomang, thanks for engaging me.

    I find a big difference beteween singing voice and style…the
    “whole package,” as others would say.
    I like her singing voice. But I don’t dislike or like her style.
    Unfortunately,  most of the AI viewers found the latter boring.
    In the US. midwest, they are simply indifferent to it.

  • Norman de Guzman

    this is debate on philip and jessica is endless.american idol is over and lets closed the book on this.its pointless and at the argument cannot gain anything.both sides will not surrender on this and nobody will give up.for me i am very tired of debate and at the very if my opponet cannot stand argument the person will used the 4 letter digusting word.we are observers here not their managers or even their staff.its time we watch what will happen next.if the two of the them become successful congratulation.the only people gaining in this hype are people behind ai.they loved intrigue and controversy coz its business.thanks.

  • man_1145

    Eh yung mga Chinese nga eh, yung mga Korean, Japanese and also, yung mga Vietnamese (full-blooded man o half-American, also includes Lee Byung-hun from Iris and Big Bang, who was also recently on the MTV EMA), pinapayag talaga sila mag-Hollywood, pero, bakit yung mga full-blooded na mga Pinoys (such as Charice), unpopular talaga dun sa Hollywood instead of Filipino communities, at saka, bakit yung mga full-blooded Indonesians, Malaysians, Singaporeans and Thais, bakit hindi talaga pinapayagan mag-Hollywood, Bakit?

    • Practical

       Racism na naman?  Lol!

      Bumili ka na lang ng itunes ni Jessica para naman mapatunayan na deserving na mag-gamble sa kanya ang mga producers para sa Hollywood.

      ZERO siya sa Top 100.  First time sa runner-up na wala sa Top 10.  Kahit sa Top 100, ZERO pa rin si Jessica.

      Si Philip, 11 songs ang nasa Top 100 at siya rin ang number 1.

      Kapag nakakabenta ang tao o may potential makabenta na nakita ng producers based sa skill at likeability niya na makaka-connect sa American audience, kahit white, black, brown, yellow o purple iyan, may producer na magga-gamble whether by producing records or movies for that person.

      Kapag napatunayan ni Jessica at ng mga fans niya na makakabenta siya, maraming producers ang kukuha sa kanya.

      Kung ngayon na sikat pa siya ay halos hindi siya makabenta ng itunes niya, sino ang producer na magri-risk?

      Kaya ang mga fans, kailangan bumili, hindi puro kuwento lang.

  • brownmj

    She is NOT Filipino.  Jessica is an American. Happy Memorial Day everyone!

  • Blinkx

    Must’ve suck to only appeal to the Fil-Am and Latino supporters but then again that’s just life. Its better than having no support at all ;P

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