'American Idol': Jessica Sanchez talks up Phillip Phillips
If Jessica Sanchez sounded a little tired when she got on the phone Thursday to take questions from reporters, who could blame her? Less than 24 hours before, the 16-year-old power singer had not only been named the Season 13 runner-up on "American Idol," losing the win to 21-year-old Phillip Phillips, she'd also turned in a duet of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" with original "Dreamgirls" star Jennifer Holliday that brought the house down. (Phillips said it was his favorite moment of the finale.)
"It was so much fun," Sanchez said of the remarkable duet. "I was in the moment and so was she. And we were making, like, the most ridiculous faces, I know. We were just digging really deep … and singing the heck out of that song."
As "Idol" watchers know, singing the heck out of the song is what Sanchez does best, and she's promising an album that will be a little bit urban, a little R&B, and just a pinch of pop – "but not much," she adds. "Not like bubble gum."
Here's what else she gave fans to chew over:
On whether she was surprised Phillips won:
Not at all. I really believed Phillip was going to win. Not because I don't think I'm good, but he has such a big fan base. We both do. And we both thank our fans so much. But he's really an artist artist. He sings so many different songs and every song that he sang, it sounds like Phillip. It always sounds like him, and that's what it takes to be a real artist.
On whether she thinks a woman can win "American Idol" at this point:
I have no idea, and I think my only disappointment would be -- the only reason I really would have wanted to win is just to break that whole guy reign and have a girl win it for once. It wouldn't even have had to be me. It could have been Hollie or Skylar or whatever. But I'm so proud of Phillip. I'm so happy it was him. He's so talented.
On whether coming in first, as opposed to second, would have made a difference in her your career:
Not at all. Jennifer Hudson came in seventh place, and she's one of the biggest ones on "Idol." I have so much respect for her, and hopefully I'm one of those people. I think all 12 of us are going to have successful careers, and I cannot wait.
On whether she's relieved the "Idol" season is over:
I kind of am, but I'm going to miss everything. I'm going to miss the people. I'm going to miss the schedule and just the whole craziness.
On what her album will be like:
Like urban, R&B and stuff, a little bit of pop, but not much … not like bubble gum.
On advice she received during the season that she'll carry with her as she continues her in her music career:
I've gotten a lot of advice from different people this season, but something that I've believed in always and that people have told me is keep striving for my dreams and if I do succeed always stay humble and stay grounded and always remember where I came from.
On a song she wanted to sing but wasn't able to:
I really wanted to sing a Prince song, it's called "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore." I love that song and I really wanted to do it, but Prince is not really clearing any songs for any shows right now.
On songs like Jimmy Iovine's Jackson 5 pick and her "winner's song" that maybe weren't such great picks, and how much input she had:
With Jimmy Iovine and stuff, that was all them. I couldn't really choose anything. That was really their choices. And for the single, I really had like a day to pick and they didn't really give us many choices. And even that I had to make little adjustments to. So it was very difficult. But now that I do have time and I do have variety and I can choose and look through songs and work with different producers and stuff, I'm definitely going to make my single, my real single, something that is 100% me.
On the difficulty of coming back after her near-elimination and whether it affected her confidence:
It was difficult, [but] it didn't really affect my confidence. It made me push harder. I think it was also a bad thing too, because I think I was pushing too hard and I wasn't really feeling any of my songs. I was just trying to prove myself and focusing on it way too much.
On why she thought voters almost sent her home:
I don't know. It could have been so many things, and I don't really like to think about it. I did what I wanted to do that week. I sang a song that nobody really knew from a not very popular artist and I was fine with that because if I went home then I'd go home proud of what I sang and liking what I sang. But I don't know what it was for, whether it was because people thought I was safe or it was my song selection. I don't know …
On the support she got from the San Diego community:
I was very overwhelmed. I've never experienced anything like that in my life. It was amazing to have that much support from my hometown and I can't wait to go back. When I came back from my homecoming story, I literally wanted to hug every person I saw.
On what she expects to be the biggest challenge as she transitions into her musical career:
There's a lot of things. Right now we were in an "American Idol" bubble. We were protected by the "American Idol" staff, and we didn't really get to see what was going on much out in the real world ... and then the fact that we are known as "American Idol" contestants and now we can break out and become artists. … It's going to be difficult, but we're all going to try to work hard and get our names out there as a single person.
On reports that she's going to work with Tommy Mottola on her album:
Um. I don't really know anything about this. There's nothing. They haven't contacted me, so I really don't know who's talking about it or what's happening.
On whether she wants to improve her dancing skills:
Most definitely. Yeah, I'm really trying to work on that, so we'll see what happens. Hopefully I can get some moves in.
On how much input she had into her outfits this season and what she thought of the little white dress Iovine said was too grown up for her:
I do have a lot of say in what I wear. If I don't like something, I make sure I tell them and they always cooperate and try to fit with what I want. I did love that dress. [But] I think after watching the performance back that it was a bit too much. My hair was big. I was dancing. I had a small dress on. I understand why he was making those comments.
On what her success on "American Idol" means to her:
It really means the world. I've wanted this since I was a little girl. I really want people to know, kids my age, that if you really put your mind to it, you can achieve anything you want. … You've just got to put your mind to it and it'll happen.
-- Amy Reiter
Photo: Jessica Sanchez. Credit: Michael Becker / Fox.