Jessica Sanchez in ‘American Idol’ top 9

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Sanchez joined the top 9 finalists of the megahit singing competition on Thursday

MANILA, Philippines – Judges’ (and crowd) favorite Jessica Sanchez, the 16-year-old Filipino-American singing powerhouse, is through to the next round in the top-rated US show “American Idol.”

Sanchez joined the top 9 finalists of the megahit singing competition on Thursday, March 22 (Friday, March 23 in Manila), which came after her much-applauded performance on Wednesday, March 21 (Thursday, March 22 in Manila).

Finalist Erika Van Pelt was eliminated in the competition.

Sanchez’s performance of Billy Joel’s Everybody Has A Dream earned her her 3rd standing ovation from the judges, Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, and Randy Jackson.

The said performance allowed Sanchez to bounce back after her last song choice – Gloria Estefan’s Turn the Beat Around – unimpressed judges and earned her criticism since it strayed from her usual power ballads.

Sanchez’s March 8 soulful rendition of the late Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You made the judges get up their feet and earned her millions of YouTube hits and social media fans.

She and the 8 other finalists will now be housed in the “Idol” mansion, one of the perks finalists in the competition enjoy.

She is also already part of the “Idol” concert tour this coming summer. –

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