Jessica Sanchez wows in Manila concert
MANILA, Philippines - Jessica Sanchez, the powerhouse vocalist from Season 11 of "American Idol," overcame an apparent case of hoarseness to wow her Filipino fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on February 14.
Last year’s runner-up in the reality TV singing competition performed nearly flawless renditions of her signature power ballad covers and received a standing ovation for a stirring delivery of the Tagalog classic, “Ikaw.”
The 17-year-old Sanchez headlined her own concert at The Big Dome after performing with her fellow Idol contestants in September last year. She was supported by finalist Colton Dixon, who placed 7th in the competition overall.
Dixon opened the show at exactly 8:30pm with his original song, “Rise.” Wearing a deep V-neck black shirt and trademark skinny jeans, the 21-year-old Tennessee native clearly had a strong following as he performed other hits from his debut album "The Messenger." He also did covers of songs from his favorite artists, including “Meant to Live” by Switchfoot and “Everything” by Lifehouse.
“Come on, Manila!” he exclaimed, eliciting screams from his fans. Backed up by a full band, he accompanied himself on keyboards for most of his songs. Meeting the press a day before, he expressed his amazement at the fact that, of the top 3 cities where his fans are based on Facebook, two are from the Philippines. “That just blows my mind,” he said.
Dixon’s set lasted only 30 minutes. There was an intermission that followed for just as long before the stage background parted and Sanchez emerged. She wore a grey mini-dress and sparkling high heels while singing the Fugees version of the Frankie Valli classic “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You.” She performed with a full band and two back-up singers and dancers.
Watch Jessica sing "Ikaw" in this fan video posted on YouTube:
After a quick shout-out to "American Idol," she segued into back-to-back songs, Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature,” and a kinetic rendition of Beyonce’s “Love On Top.” While most people there were probably already aware of her skills after following her journey on Idol, seeing her live cemented her reputation as a performer with a maturity far beyond her years. Clearly, this girl was born to be onstage.
Dixon came back out and sang the Rihanna hit “Love The Way You Lie” with Sanchez. It was then that the slight rasp in her voice started to become noticeable. She powered through it however when she reappeared soon after, outfitted in a slinky cream-colored dress, and surprised the crowd when she began singing in Tagalog. “Ikaw” is a wedding march staple written by George Canseco and popularized by singer-actress Sharon Cuneta. Audience members were jumping out of their chairs and gave her enthusiastic praise before she had even finished.
If there were any concert jitters or nervousness that Sanchez felt because of the condition of her vocal chords, she didn’t show it. Instead, she displayed grace and confidence as she went on and sang Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” a song that garnered her much praise when she first performed it on American Idol. She followed it up with a heartfelt tribute to her dad, Luther Vandross’ “Dance With My Father.”
There were some concerns when she began belting out another signature cover, Jennifer Holliday’s “And I Am Telling You,” but while she struggled with some of the song’s lower register, she hit the high notes and basked in the applause and amazement of an appreciative audience. Sanchez premiered a fun and upbeat new song called “Fairy Tales,” which she said is going to be included in her upcoming album, before exiting briefly.
She came back for her encore, the theme song for the “Jump In” campaign of mobile giant Smart. Even surrounded by a dozen back-up dancers, the diminutive singer stood tall and displayed the makings of a true diva in the best possible sense of the word. - Rappler.com
Paul John Caña is the managing editor of Lifestyle Asia magazine and is a live music geek. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @pauljohncana