LAS VEGAS, JUNE 1Q, 2012 (ABS-CBN) - “American Idol” runner-up Jessica Sanchez sang the US national anthem ahead of the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley fight on Sunday (Manila time) at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Sanchez, who is half-Filipina and half-Mexican, sang "The Star Spangled Banner" also a capella before a huge crowd of boxing fans from around the world who came to watch the fight.

Sanchez, wearing a yellow gown with black prints, is the third “American Idol” contestant with Filipino blood to perform the US national anthem during a Pacquiao fight.

In Pacquiao’s November 2011 match with Juan Manuel Marquez, “Idol” Season 10 contestant Thia Magia sang "The Star Spangled Banner," while Season 7’s Ramielle Malubay was given that honor during the fight between Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto in November 2009.

This isn’t the first time Sanchez performed the US national anthem for a huge sporting event – she had previously sung it at two football games of her home city’s San Diego Chargers.

Most recently, she performed the US national anthem during the PBS Memorial Day concert in Washington D.C.

Pacquiao, who prayed for Sanchez to win “American Idol,” had said in previous interviews that he wanted the 16-year-old to sing in one of his fights.

Meanwhile, Filipino-American teenager Kirby Asunto sang the Philippine national anthem for the Pacquiao-Bradley fight.

Jessica also hopes to sing 'Lupang Hinirang' By Shiela Reyes, Posted at 06/10/2012 5:38 PM | Updated as of 06/10/2012 6:02 PM

MANILA, Philippines – While some netizens feel bad that Jessica Sanchez sang the American national anthem instead of the Philippine national anthem during the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley bout, the “American Idol” runner-up said she is hoping she could also sing “Lupang Hinirang” in Pacquiao’s future fights.

"American Idol" runner-up Jessica Sanchez sings "The Star Spangled Banner" during the Pacquiao-Bradley bout.

In an interview with ABS-CBN News before the boxing match on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), Sanchez said she would love to learn how to speak Tagalog soon.

“[I want to sing ‘Lupang Hinirang] most definitely. I don’t speak any Tagalog but I’ve sang in Tagalog before so maybe in the future,” she said.

Sanchez even said she would ask her mom to teach her to speak Filipino since she does not speak other languages besides English.

“We’ll see what happens. I don’t speak anything. I need to learn,” she said.

According to the 16-year-old singer, she feels really honored to be invited by Pacquiao to sing in his fight. She is also glad to have met the Filipino boxing superstar just before the match began.

“It was amazing. I can’t even believe I’m here right now. It was an honor to meet him and Freddie (Roach). I can’t wait to sing,” she said.

The San Diego-based singer also revelead that she was praying for Pacquiao to win.

“Idol” tour

Meanwhile, Sanchez admitted that as early as now, she is already looking forward to the “Idol” tour.

“It’s gonna be amazing. There’s gonna some great songs. It’s gonna be a whole big production show and it starts July 6 in Detroit. We’ll go to 42 cities,” she said.

Sanchez also said there’s nothing more exciting than performing before her Filipino fans.

“We just found out today that we are going to be in Manila on September 21st. I don’t even know how it’s gonna be. I heard it’s crazy over there. I’m so excited to go see my people and all the people who have been supporting me. I just can’t wait,” she said.

Sanchez said she has never been outside the U.S. and she is happy that her first out of the country trip would be to her mom’s native country.

“I’ve never been out of the country before. To go to the Philippines for the first time, it must be amazing. I can’t wait,” she said. - from a report by Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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