[PHOTO - Jessica Sanchez sings Billy Joel’s ‘Everybody Has A Dream’ and earns back a standing ovation from the ‘Idol’ judges.]

MANILA, MARCH 27, 2012 (INQUIRER) By JECELYN V. MACAHINDOG - Jessica Sanchez once again earned a standing ovation – her third – from “American Idol” judges, coming from last week’s not so impressive performance.

The Filipino-Mexican contestant performed “Everybody Has A Dream” during Top 10’s Billy Joel Night, March 21 (March 22, Manila time).

It was a defining moment for the 16-year-old singer from San Diego who made the cut to the show’s Top 9 with Hollie Cavanagh, Skylar Laine, Elise Testone, Joshua Ledet, Colton Dixon, Philip Phillips, DeAndre Brackensick and Heejun Han.

Erika Van Pelt was voted off from her season 11’s journey.

Just like her previous standing ovation performances of Jennifer Hudson’s “Love You I Do” and Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” Sanchez’s rendition of the Billy Joel song left judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson mesmerized.

Tyler told Sanchez, “You’ve gone way past my judging.”

“When God was giving out vocal cords, you were so at the front of the line. I’ve got nothing to say except for thank you for letting me hear you sing, baby,” he added.

Lopez, on the other hand, thought of Sanchez’s piece to be a fitting choice, like it was her own.

“That song was, like, written for you… Like [Billy Joel] wrote that song for you a long time ago.

“That was a defining moment for you, for me… a defining song because I really feel like that’s you. That’s you. You have this dream and you’re here and you’re seizing the moment and you’re living it in every second and we all get to feel that and that’s a beautiful thing,” she said.

Jackson took note of Sanchez’s consistency and described her performance flawless and perfect.

“It takes consistency to win and you have a moment every time you step on that stage… Every time you step up every week, you have to have a moment. You have a moment every time you step on that stage and I love it. You are flawless, it was perfect.”

He even commended “Idol’s” resident mentor Jimmy Iovine, image adviser Tommy Hilfiger and guest mentor Sean “Diddy” Combs. “Yo, Jimmy, Diddy, Tommy, everybody was right on. Excellent!”

Prior to Sanchez’s well-lauded performance, Diddy told the young singer during rehearsals, “I don’t believe you.”

“To be honest with you, I don’t believe you. I just think that you’re over singing the song. I just want to believe that you have that dream… If you hold back on the showing off tricks… Tricks are not going to get you to that superstar level,” Combs suggested to Sanchez.

Taking Diddy’s advice, Sanchez proved that she can sing in a more restrained manner while looking straight at him, turning Diddy into a believer.

Sanchez’s take on “Everybody Has A Dream” was one of the standouts on Wednesday’s performance night. As per judges’ verdict, same raves went to Colton Dixon and Elise Testone. Being the youngest contender left, Sanchez is considered as one of the frontrunners this “Idol” season.

The latest “Power Rankings” of Entertainment Weekly had Sanchez on the third spot coming after Phillip Phillips Jr. and Hollie Cavanagh.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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