[PHOTO - Jessica Sanchez performing Aerosmith's "I Dont Want To Miss A Thing" during American Idol's Top 3 performance night Wednesday (Thursday Manila time) Photo taken from Youtube Video]

MANILA, MAY 18, 2012 (INQUIRER) By: Matikas Santos - Filipino-Mexican-American Jessica Sanchez drew praises for her performance from two “American Idol” judges Wednesday night (Thursday Manila time) despite having throat problems.

And while Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler continued to complement Sanchez, Randy Jackson was more lukewarm in his review, earning boos from the crowd.

Sanchez’s first song, Mariah Carey’s “My All,” was chosen by Lopez.

“I knew I wanted to hear her sing a song like this; it’s one of my favorite songs,” said Lopez, who on Wednesday was named by Forbes magazine as the most powerful celebrity in the world.

“There’s a tenderness in this song that I feel that she will kill,” she said.

Her performance was likewise praised by Jackson, saying, “I think it’s one of the best times a Mariah song has ever been performed on TV.”

“Perfectly the right song for you,” he said.

Lopez said it was a hard song, “but you did it so beautifully, and you did it in your own way.”

Tyler said to Sanchez that “you will be the last one standing here, I believe.”

Jessica Sanchez performing Aerosmith's "I Dont Want To Miss A Thing" during American Idol's Top 3 performance night Wednesday (Thursday Manila time) Photo taken from Youtube Video Sanchez’s second song was Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.”

Tyler, lead vocalist of Aerosmith, praised her for making the song “greater.”

“Well, you just took a great song and made it greater. Thank you,” Tyler said after Jessica’s performance.

Lopez shared that Tyler has never complemented any contestant who chose to perform his songs.

“When people come up there and sing his songs, he’s never said one good thing,” Lopez said.

Lopez said she “sent everybody to the heavens” with that performance.

Jackson said Sanchez “delivered” on the “big moment” that he has been waiting for.

The third song Sanchez performed was “I’ll Be There” by The Jackson 5, which both got nods from Tyler and Lopez.

Tyler said “Perfect song, perfect voice. You nailed it, delicious.”

Lopez told Sanchez after her performance “You had perfect tone in your voice, you almost sounded like Michael,” referring to the late Michael Jackson who originally sang the song when he was young.

Randy Jackson said “I liked it okay, I didn’t love it,” which drew boos from the audience.

“Once again we’re at the end here and you’re on the stage with all these dynamic singers, there was never a moment moment,” Jackson said.

He said he was looking for some “more emotional moments” in her version of Mariah’s song.

“It was okay, it wasn’t like ‘Oh my god!’ and I’m looking for that now,” Jackson said.

Sanchez tweeted a day before the competition that her “throat was not at its best.”

Sanchez is competing against Joshua Ledet and Phillip Phillips for the finals of “American Idol”.

First posted May 17, 2012 | 12:34 pm

Jessica almost there; finale May 23 Philippine Daily Inquirer May 19, 2012 | 1:59 am

NEW YORK—And then there were two.

Jessica Sanchez and Phillip Phillips are left to battle for the “American Idol” season 11 crown on next week’s finale after Joshua Ledet, who brought the “American Idol” judges to their feet many times over, couldn’t win over fans and was sent home from the top-rated TV talent show on Friday.

Sanchez has impressed the judges from the beginning of the current season with her technical mastery of music, despite being the youngest contestant at 16. The other night, the judges cheered the Filipino-Mexican when she sang Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” leading Steven Tyler, the rock band’s lead singer, to say “you just took a great song and made it greater.”

Singer-songwriter Phillips has won plaudits for bringing his own distinctive style of guitar-playing music to other artists’ songs. Mentor Jimmy Iovine and judge Randy Jackson agreed that Phillips’ performance song “We’ve Got Tonight” was his best performance to date.

Ledet was gracious in defeat. He closed the singing contest on Thursday with his rendition of “It’s a Man’s World,” replicating one of his most popular performances of the season.

Friday’s results show included performances from two artists with new albums out this week—Lisa Marie Presley and “Idol” season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert. Presley sang “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,” off her album “Storm and Grace” and Lambert did “Never Close Our Eyes” from his sophomore album “Trespassing.”

Audience voting was based on Wednesday’s episode that included three performance rounds of contestants singing songs chosen by the judges, songs of their own picking and a tune chosen by Iovine.

Palace support

Hours after Sanchez reached the “Idol” finals on Friday, Malacañang appealed to Filipinos in the United States to vote for the Philippine bet.

“Please show your support in any way possible for Jessica Sanchez. This is the last stretch and we know that when Filipinos gather and put their minds into it, it will happen,” said deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte during Friday’s news briefing.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement that Sanchez “inspires us to pursue excellence in everything we do—no matter how big or small the stage may be.”

From Orani, Samal

[PHOTO- Jessica’s dad Gilbert Sanchez and Mom Editha]

The frenzy surrounding Sanchez is spreading to the towns of Orani and Samal in Bataan province—where her mother Editha Bugay and maternal relatives hail—as residents hope and pray that her “Idol” journey ends in triumph.

“Our support here is solid. Everybody loves her,” said Manny Morales, 32, a tricycle driver in Orani town.

Morales said a tarpaulin is displayed in front of the town plaza showing their support for Sanchez. A lot of people have also come looking for the house of her grandparents there since she became an “Idol” finalist.

“She has really become well known, even if she hasn’t been here,” he added.

The house of Sanchez’s grandparents in Barangay Apollo in Orani has become a local landmark as Sanchez advanced to the finals.

Orani residents interviewed by the Inquirer said even before Sanchez joined the popular singing competition, the Bugay family was already known in the town. Morales said one of Sanchez’s relatives, Rene Bugay, is a longtime councilor and politician in the town.

Morales said they were hoping Sanchez would visit Bataan after her “Idol” stint.

Orani Mayor Benjamin Serrano Jr. said he had been asking residents of Bataan, who have relatives in the United States, to urge them to support Sanchez and vote for her to become this year’s “American Idol.”

In a text message from the United States, Dinalupihan Mayor Joel Payumo, president of the Bataan Mayors’ League, said the Filipino community in the United States is behind Sanchez all the way.

Payumo’s brother, Jojo, a member of the provincial board, said the provincial government filed a resolution in support of Sanchez three weeks ago.

Free ‘Idol’ viewing

In this town, the local government had prepared a free public viewing of “Idol” through Cignal, a cable TV provider, on Thursday and Friday.

On Thursday night, almost 1,000 Samal residents flocked to the town plaza to watch her perform.

Samal Mayor Generosa dela Fuente said Sanchez had become an inspiration to the youth in their town.

“Even though Samal is relatively smaller and poorer than the other towns in Bataan, we are slowly becoming well known because of Jessica,” she said.

Dela Fuente said she had organized little gatherings to watch Sanchez’s performances.

“In the beginning, we only had a small projector that we used to show her performances in the plaza. But now, we have support given to us by Cignal so that a lot more people can watch her,” she said.

[PHOTO -Jessica’s family on her mother’s side (from L): mom Editha, Lola Virgie Bugay and Lolo Eddie]

Sanchez’s great, great grandfather was a former Samal councilor and a musician. Her grandfather, Eddie, is a retired US Navy personnel.

“They bought a house in Orani; that’s where they live now. But their ancestral home is here,” Dela Fuente said.

Mass for Sanchez

Fr. Paul Bugay, head of the finance ministry of the San Pablo diocese in Laguna, has been closely following the show and is rooting for his second cousin Sanchez.

A Catholic priest in Laguna, who traces his roots to Samal, Bataan, Bugay has offered prayers and Holy Masses for her to win.

Bugay said his father and the grandfather of Sanchez are cousins.

Since Sanchez became one of the “Idol” contenders, he said the Bugay clan in the United States as well as relatives living in Germany, United Kingdom and Australia had been in close contact with each other through the social networking site Facebook.

He said all the Bugays scattered throughout the world are now unanimous in their campaign to vote for Sanchez.

“They have been encouraging and appealing to fellow Filipinos to vote for her through phone or the Internet,” he said.

The finale will consist of a two-hour performance episode on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila), followed by a results episode on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila), with guest performers Rihanna, Jason Derulo, Aerosmith and the “Idol” season 11 Top 10.

The face-off between Sanchez and Phillips will be aired in the Philippines via satellite on ETC on May 23 at 6 p.m. The season’s grand finale will be broadcast live on May 24 at 8 a.m., with replays at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. also on ETC. With reports from Norman Bordadora, Robert Gonzaga, Inquirer Central Luzon, Romulo Ponte, Southern Luzon Bureau


Samal, Bataan, Philippines Hopes To Ride On Jessica's Fame By KRISTINA MARALIT May 19, 2012, 8:48pm

[PHOTO - Samal is a 4th class municipality in the province of Bataan, Philippines. According to the latest census, it has a population of 45,677 people in 7,346 households. Samal is formerly known as Samel. Samal is the leading producer of rice in the province. Gene M. Dela Fuente is the current mayor of Samal, she comes from a very big family in Samal, the Malibiran family. Samal also produces "Araro cookies" , cookies that look like biscuits with a balanced taste. Samal has copper and gold deposits.Samal is located at the south of Orani, at the north of Abucay, west of Manila Bay and in the east of Morong. Samal is also the town where Jessica Sanchez mother lives. WIKIPEDIA]

SAMAL, BATAAN – Samal Mayor Generosa “Gene” dela Fuente hopes Jessica Sanchez’s fame will help put the little town on the map.

“Samal is not as known as Orani or Balanga. We hope Jessica’s current popularity will bring more people to visit our town and see what we have to offer,” dela Fuente said during Cignal Digital TV’s “American Idol Night” held at the town plaza. “Not too many people know that our main product is capiz. We have a lot of skilled crafters and I’m hoping Samal will one day become a major exporter of capiz products.”

Besides the making and selling of handicrafts, Dela Fuente hopes Samal (population is around 37,000) will also attract more tourists, but for that to happen, the first-term mayor said some public structures have to be refurbished. Right now, a lying-in clinic and a pre-school building are being built on a lot where a public market once stood.

“We are a fourth-class municipality, a lot still needs to be done for us to progress. Thankfully, with the Samaleños’ cooperation, we have started moving forward. If before Samal seemed like a ghost town and was rebel-infested, it’s now slowly coming to life and is one of the most peaceful towns in Bataan,” the mayor said.

Asked what kind of impact the 16-year-old Sanchez’s amazing run on “American Idol” had on the Samaleños, Dela Fuente said “Jessica has inspired everyone here, especially the youth. She’s so young but overflowing with potential. Everytime she takes the stage, you can sense her confidence. She has that aura of a winner. That’s what I want my town, mates to have, the belief that they can do great things.”

Dela Fuente said ever since the Filipino-Mexican singing sensation caught the world’s attention, different media organizations have flocked to their once sleepy town to look for Jessica’s relatives.

Jessica’s mother, Editha, traces her roots to Samal and Orani. While some are open to being interviewed, there are also those who would rather shy away from members of the media.

“We will definitely roll out the red carpet for her (Sanchez) and pull out all the stops to give her a grand welcome,” dela Fuente said.

“I’ve said time and again that Jessica is superstar material. She’s a very talented child. I have no doubt that she will be the next American Idol winner,” Berning Bugay said in the vernacular. Bugay is the cousin of Jessica’s grandfather, Eduardo Bugay, a retired US Navy serviceman.

The Idol finale will be aired live on Thursday, May 24 (Manila time).

If Sanchez wins, she will be the first American Idol with Filipino blood.

The farthest a Filipino has ever gone in the competition was when Jasmine Trias made the top three in the show’s third season.


Jessica Sanchez was born in Chula Vista, California on August 4, 1995 to parents Gilbert and Editha Sanchez. She was raised in Eastlake, Chula Vista, along with two younger brothers.

Her father, a Mexican American originally from Texas, is a U.S. Navy veteran who fought in the Iraq War, served in Afghanistan and, as of April 2012, was expected to soon be deployed to Singapore. Her mother is Filipino American originally from Bataan province in the Philippines. Her maternal grandfather, Eddie Bugay, is a retired U.S. Navy sailor.

Inspired by her Roman Catholic grandmother, Sanchez carries a rosary everywhere and prays quietly before going on stage.

She is a former student of Eastlake Middle School in Chula Vista. Back in her eighth grade, her favorite subjects were science, physical education, and choir. Her teacher remembers Sanchez as a humble girl, for when word spread at school that she sang the national anthem at a San Diego Chargers home game, she did not brag and preferred to stay in the background. She was selected for full scholarship training at the Theater of Arts in Hollywood and is currently a home-schooled high school student in 11th grade.

She started singing at the age of 2 and aspires to be a mainstream singer that can "belt but sing upbeat songs". Eminem and Beyonce are her favorite male and female artists, while Jennifer Hudson is her favorite American Idol contestant. Other musical influences include Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Etta James, Christina Aguilera, and Michael Jackson.

Early career

Showtime at the Apollo

At the age of 10, Sanchez got a standing ovation for performing Aretha Franklin's "Respect" on Showtime at the Apollo. The host Whoopi Goldberg called her back on stage to accept a second round of applause.

America's Got Talent

Sanchez competed on the first season of America's Got Talent at the age of 11. Despite a successful audition, she was not seen on the show until during the wild card round of the semi-finals when judge Brandy Norwood chose her to comeback for a chance to compete for the finals. Norwood predicted, "You’re gonna be huge, I promise," after seeing her perform "I Surrender" by Celine Dion. The show's executive producer and former American Idol judge Simon Cowell named her "one of the best I have ever heard."

National Football League

On September 22, 2008, Sanchez sang The Star-Spangled Banner before a San Diego Chargers versus New York Jets matchup. She got invited again to sing the national anthem on September 27, 2009 before a San Diego Chargers versus Miami Dolphins matchup.

Single releases

In October 2009, Sanchez recorded a cover of "Don't Stop the Music" by Rihanna for iTunes with independent record label Spin Move Records. The following spring, Sanchez recorded another single with Spin Move Records, a cover of Etta James' "I'd Rather Go Blind" for YouTube and exclusive download on the label's website.

We Are the World remake

Sanchez was one of the singers in Lisa Lavie's collaboration video "We Are the World 25 for Haiti (YouTube Edition)" for charity relief for victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, along with American Idol season 10 finalist Thia Megia. The video's participants were collectively recognized as "Persons of the Week" on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer on March 19, 2010.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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