The top 12 girls of American Idol season 11 took to the stage to sing for their competition lives on February 29. By evening's end, teenage upstart Jessica Sanchez had risen to the top of the heap thanks to a powerful, sophisticated routine that drew a standing ovation.
But all wasn't rosy for the teen heading into the night's action. Prior to performing, Jessica shared with host Ryan Seacrest that she'd struggled with swollen vocal cords during rehearsals. As a result, she hoped she'd still be able to pull it off. But as things happened, she had no reason to worry.
Jessica glittered in silver and black as she dominated Jennifer Hudson's "Love You I Do." Judges Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler were collectively awed by her maturity. Randy declared "that girl can really sing" and called her "one of the best of the last two nights." Jennifer loved the whole package, including the "beyond your years" way she's able to use her body when she performs. Steven called her timing "exceptional" and her voice and pitch "perfect." He ended the judges' critique by saying her next gig as a National Anthem singer would be a paid one.
Jessica was giddy over the praise, and gushed to Ryan that she was "freaking out" over getting such great comments from her role models. But she earned them, and though she's surrounded by great talent, her performance should earn her a spot on the show moving forward.
To see if Jessica Sanchez advances to the next round of American Idol season 11, tune in to Thursday night's results show on FOX.