BALANGA, BATAAN, MAY 29, 2012 (PHILSTAR) By Raffy Viray (PHOTO -Relatives and fans wave flags during a viewing party in support of Jessica in Samal town, Bataan yesterday. Jonjon Vicencio)

BALANGA, Ba-taan, Philippines – Although 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez finished second to Phillip Phillips in the 11th season of “American Idol,” she remains the winner in the hearts of her relatives here and millions of fans.

“It was as if my heart crumbled to pieces when her name was not announced the winner. But still we are very proud of her, making the Bugay clan known all over the world as an extraordinary, talented artist,” said Emelita Bugay Saldaa, a maternal relative of Sanchez in Samal town in this province.

The guitar-strumming Phillips was declared the winner of “American Idol” yesterday after viewers cast a record 132 million votes. The 21-year-old from Georgia, who stamped his style with individual and sometimes quirky arrangements, beat the big voice and power ballads of Sanchez, a Filipino-Mexican from California.

Thousands of spectators braved the rains and stood in the open plaza here to watch the season finale of the US television show.

When Phillips was announced as the winner, the crowd let out a collective “Ay” and stood motionless, while some said the decision was unexpected.

Ernie Bugay Esconde, a second cousin of Sanchez’s grandfather Eddie Bugay, said they are happy and very proud because Jessica is a topnotch singer, not just because she is a relative but one “who is truly worthy of recognition.”

“Whether she makes it or not, we are still happy for her credible performance in the field of music,” Esconde added.

A septuagenarian female relative said Sanchez “deserves recognition for her spectacular feat in the world of music and her achievement should be acknowledged by the government even in a small way.”

City Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia III said the American Idol finale revealed the inherent quality of Sanchez as a naturally gifted singer.

Garcia expressed his admiration for Sanchez in reaching the finale of the American Idol.

“As far we are concerned, (Sanchez is) the ultimate champion and Filipino Idol the country should be proud of,” Garcia said.

He said the city government is extending an invitation for Sanchez to perform at the historic Mt. Samat. Malacańang said Sanchez obtained the loyal and enthusiastic support of Filipinos the world over. “Throughout her long, arduous journey, people considered Ms. Sanchez a performer imbued with an extraordinary gift of music and heart. This is only the beginning for Ms. Sanchez, whose incredible talent has been recognized and appreciated the world over,” presidential deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a statement.

[PHOTO - Jessica gets the support of VP Binay (FILE PHOTO]

Vice President Jejomar Binay said Sanchez made all Filipinos proud of her achievement.

Binay said he and the entire Filipino people consider Sanchez as the winner.

“Although Jessica Sanchez was not lucky to become the American Idol, she is still the winner for the heart of each Filipinos,” Binay said.

Lawmakers also hailed Sanchez, with accolades waiting to honor her achievement.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. earlier said the House of Representatives would honor Sanchez win or lose.

“She strengthened our sense of patriotism, unity and love for our country,” Belmonte said, adding Sanchez’s achievements reminded foreigners of the many artistic talents of Filipinos.

Bataan Rep. Herminia Roman, whose congressional district includes Samal town from where Sanchez’s mother hails, led the filing of a resolution congratulating the American Idol runner-up.

Roman commended Sanchez “for her impeccable performance and display of extraordinary talent during the 11th season of American Idol.”

Bataan’s 2nd District Rep. Albert Garcia also sponsored a House Resolution congratulating Sanchez.

Garcia filed a resolution citing that Sanchez “has shown innate Filipino talent which has stunned the whole world, earning adulation of millions and making a beacon of inspiration of Filipinos everywhere, earning multiple standing ovations from the judges throughout the competition.”

Bacolod City Rep. Anthony Golez, in a separate resolution, cited the teen for her “excellent voice and unparalleled performances.”

Golez said Sanchez’s “exceptional talent ... will catapult her to international success in the music and entertainment industry.”

House Majority Leader and Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales II said Sanchez’s runner-up finish was “an excellent feat for a very young lady.”

“Her unparalleled feat in AI definitely showcased the talent of Filipinos and this alone is a huge achievement for Jessica who will always be our Filipino idol,” Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles said.

Ang Kasangga party-list Rep. Teodorico Haresco filed a similar resolution, saying the nation won with Sanchez.

“Some may think we have lost but we have won in our hearts. Filipinos in the US were galvanized to support this beautiful voice. Someday soon a Filipino will be the American Idol,” Haresco said.

“Had Jessica shown a bit of ‘white’ from her Mexican side, the market would have been overwhelmingly on her side,” Haresco said.


Phillips was crowned American Idol yesterday after winning the hearts of millions of young women to become the fifth straight “white guy with a guitar (WGWG)” to take the title on the top-rated TV singing contest.

Phillips, whose style has been compared to Dave Matthews and British folk-rock band Mumford and Sons, looked stunned as his name was announced at the end of a two-hour finale featuring performances by Rihanna, Neil Diamond and Reba McEntire.

Sanchez, a southern Californian of Filipino and Latino heritage, on the other hand, was declared the runner up.

Sanchez’s prospects, critics said, dimmed with a less-than-impressive performance during Tuesday’s pre-vote sing-off.

The show ended with Phillips playing his country-inflicted first single “Home,” but – clearly overcome with emotion – he broke off before the end to hug his family amid a blizzard of confetti.

“Idol” judge Jennifer Lopez sang her new single and Steven Tyler’s band Aerosmith closed the show with their 1976 classic rock tune “Walk This Way.”

Fighting back tears after he won, Phillips abandoned the performance of his new single and unstrapped his acoustic guitar to walk off stage and hug his family in the front row of the audience.

“I feel so numb, the whole situation is unbelievable. Did I think I would win? No, heck no,” he told reporters afterward, describing himself as “not a great singer” but someone who loves being on stage and having fun with music.

“It’s so unreal, it still hasn’t sunk in yet. It is such an amazing blessing to have, and I really haven’t comprehended it all,” he added.

Sanchez, bidding to become the youngest ever winner of American Idol, had come into yesterday’s finale seemingly ahead as she dominated social media and Twitter buzz in the last few days.

But Phillips’ shy, goofball humor earned him a large female fan base, and he had never appeared in the bottom three in public votes during earlier stages of the Fox TV show.

Phillips wins a guaranteed record contract, but Sanchez is also expected to be signed by a record label.

Two different singers American Idol mentor and record producer Jimmy Iovine said the two singers appealed to completely different audiences.

“I think it came down Phillip having that country base and the young girl thing going that]s hitting the button a lot of times,” Iovine told reporters backstage.

Tyler said: “He’s real, we watched him pull out of his soul ... he can really sing a melody right. He’s just really evolved and he’s been vulnerable, and I think America loves that.”

Phillips, who worked in his father’s pawnshop before auditioning for “Idol,” also won sympathy for a recurrent kidney problem that has plagued his health during the season.

Sanchez had a pitch perfect voice, but was sometimes faulted for lacking the emotion needed to deliver ballads made famous by Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Celine Dion.

Sanchez was saved by the judges from elimination in April after placing bottom in public voting, and the show’s judges disliked her third song in Tuesday night’s performance finale.

But Tyler said Sanchez also had a great future ahead of her.

“She sings so beautiful, so if the right person writes her the right song, she’ll be on her way,” he said.

Sanchez said she had no regrets and was happy for Phillips.

“I really think Phillip deserved to win and I’m so happy for him,” she told reporters.

“Phillip has everything about him. He has his funny side and his humble side and he’s just an original artist,” Sanchez said.

American Idol remains the most-watched show on US television but public appetite for the contest and its winners is slipping after 11 years on the air and a slew of rival, months-long talent shows.

Since the departure of acerbic British music mogul Simon Cowell from the panel of judges, American Idol remains one of the most-watched shows of any genre on US television.

Its impact on popular music was reaffirmed this month with past contestants Adam Lambert and Carrie Underwood both taking turns at the top of the pop charts.

Audiences are down about 23 percent this year, and Tuesday’s performance finale was watched by just 14.4 million people – the lowest-rated performance finale since the show began in 2002.

American Idol launched the careers of Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Chris Daughtry and Adam Lambert – who on Wednesday scored his first No. 1 album with his second disc “Trespassing.”

With the exception of 2011 Idol winner, country singer Scotty McCreery, recent contestants have fared less well.

A female singer has not won the title since Jordin Sparks in 2007, leading Phillips to be dubbed the latest “white guy with a guitar” to emerge as America’s newest pop star.

For the season finale, Phillips and Sanchez shared the stage at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles with a galaxy of stars from Neil Diamond to Rihanna, as well as other top 12 season contestants with whom they will now embark on a national tour.

Lopez and Tyler also performed along with his band Aerosmith.

Easily the most surprising moment came when Seacrest invited former Idol contestants Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo – now an item – on stage, whereupon Young asked DeGarmo to marry him. Cheers filled the venue when she tearfully replied yes. – Jose Rodel Clapano, Paolo Romero, Aurea Calica, Ric Sapnu

Balanga holds motorcade to drum up support for Jessica By Raffy Viray (The Philippine Star) Updated May 23, 2012 12:00 AMComments (1)

BALANGA CITY, Philippines – A fiesta-like atmosphere prevails over the historic Bataan peninsula with Jessica Sanchez’s entry into the grand finale of the popular talent search show “American Idol” Season 11.

Mayor Generosa Malibiran de la Fuente of Samal said a motorcade to be participated in by the 14 barangays and various sectors will be held today to drum up support leading to the much-awaited finale of the high-rating TV show.

A Mass will be held at the town plaza before the motorcade starts.

De la Fuente said they would install a wide screen at the covered basketball court of the town plaza here to accommodate 2,000 supporters, with several tarpaulin tents in other places leading to Barangay San Juan where reside the Bugay family, including retired US Navy serviceman Eddie Bugay who is Sanchez’s maternal grandfather.

“We just like to show our support for Miss Sanchez,” De la Fuente said.

The Bataan Mayors League has approved a resolution commending Sanchez for her noteworthy performance and artistic interpretations of songs that earned her worldwide notice during the contest, De la Fuente said.

“Miss Sanchez’s performance will forever (remain) in the hearts of the Filipino people as the first Fil-Am and Asian to reach the highly competitive, world acclaimed American Idol,” she added.

Balanga City Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia III is preparing the town plaza to accommodate some 3,000 spectators for the viewing of the two-day grand finale.

Garcia said Balanga residents are extending their support to Sanchez.

“We want to invite Miss Sanchez to hold her first concert in the Philippines in her home province, to make it more special we can do the project atop the historic Mt. Samat National Shrine in Pilar town,” he said.

Gov. Enrique Garcia Jr. said whatever happens tomorrow, Sanchez is already the winner in the hearts of all Filipinos.

“We are doubly proud that she has roots in the province of Bataan and that last week, she wore an elegant creation of renowned designer Oliver Tolentino who is also a native of Orani,” Garcia said.

Garcia added the triumph of Sanchez in American Idol should be an inspiration to all aspiring youth with talent and should make them proud of being Filipino.


Solon files House resolution congratulating Jessica Sanchez as AI runner-up By ERNIE B. ESCONDE May 25, 2012 8:04am

BALANGA City, Bataan - A congressman on Thursday filed a resolution congratulating Jessica Sanchez for emerging runner-up in the just concluded 2012 “American Idol” Season 11.

Rep. Albert Garcia (photo) of Bataan’s second district said he filed House Resolution No. 2444 to commend the 16-year-old singer with Filipino blood.

“Malaking karangalan si Jessica hindi lamang sa ating lalawigan kundi maging sa buong bansa,” he said.

Garcia said he felt sad just like everybody else when Sanchez did not win the AI crown. “Lahat nalungkot pero at the same time we should be proud of her because she faced a stiff competition and yet she attained quite a feat,” the congressman said.

Sanchez emerged as second to champion Phillip Phillips.

Garcia as well as many other Bataeńos consider Sanchez as a kababayan. Her mother, the former Editha Bugay, has roots in barangay San Juan in Samal, Bataan.

The Bataan lawmaker described Sanchez as showing innate Filipino talent which he said has stunned the world, earning the adulation of millions and becoming a beacon of inspiration to Filipinos everywhere.

“Her talent, humility, and passion has united Filipinos the world over and has given us another Filipino champion to emulate,” Garcia said.

He said Mayor Cox of the Chula Vista in San Diego, California has proclaimed May 12, 2012 as Jessica Sanchez Day. “Should she decide to come home, we should accord her the same honor,” the congressman said.

Meanwhile, another solon has filed a resolution intending to honor Sanchez.

Bataan Rep. Herminia Roman filed House Resolution (HR) No. 2425 to recognize the teener’s achievements.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said the House will give Sanchez the honor she deserves. –KG, GMA News

City Government of Balanga gives tribute to Jessica Sanchez

Officials and employees of the city government of Balanga in Bataan sent congratulatory messages and gave tribute to American Idol finalist Jessica Sanchez during Monday’s flag-raising ceremony at the Plaza Mayor de Balanga.

“Sa tulong ng ating pagdarasal, magtatagumpay si Jessica na isang Pilipino, isang Bataeno,” Balanga City Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia III said.

Garcia said in jest that perhaps Jessica has become a good singer because of boneless bangus that other contestants do not have. Bataan, Orani in particular, is known for boneless bangus aside from tasty crabs and prawns.

Jessica’s mother Editha has roots in Orani and Samal towns in Bataan. She is one of three daughters, all in the United States, of retired U.S. Navy man Eddie and Virgie Bugay of Orani. Editha is married to a Mexican.

Garcia said they will send Jessica through Youtube two congratulatory messages. “Congratulations Ms Jessica Sanchez – Galing ng Pilipino, Galing ng Bataan – We will always love you!,” reads the first message.

“Congratulations Ms. Jessica Sanchez – Talentong Bataeno, Idolo ng buong mundo – Ipinagmamalaki ka namin!,” says another message.

A short video clip on the latest performance of Jessica in American idol was shown at the big screen on the stage in the plaza. City hall officials and employees gasped in awe and cheered as Jessica sang “I will always love you.”

All eyes were glued on the screen. Plaza Mayor erupted in the din of applause as the three AI judges gave encouraging and superb remarks on Jessica.

After the showing, the employees and officials sent the two messages in deafening chorus mimicking that of an American Idol audience. Ernie Esconde

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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