CALIFORNIA, USA – Amid news of the rise and abrupt fall of a North Korean missile on Friday, April 13, one story from a reality singing contest in America easily sent shockwaves to the country. Jessica Sanchez, the 16-year-old Mexican-Filipino diva on American Idol was nearly booted off the 11th season of American Idol.
Jessica Sanchez had the lowest number of votes this week. But she’s staying, thanks to Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and Steven Tyler who used their only “save” power for the season on her.
What went wrong? Why didn’t America like the talented Ms Sanchez?
Pinoys from the social networks to the pantries and elevators of corporate offices ask why America snubbed Jessica when she’s been given lavish praise by the judges week in, week out. Some found it unbelievable that the Pinay girl with the steel pipes who’s just been called a legend by guest mentor Akon the night before was almost sent packing.
There are a lot of theories.
One is the “Pia Toscano Theory,” named after last year’s contestant who many believed was prematurely booted out due to fan complacency. Like Sanchez, Toscano was praised as the singer who can do no wrong, and some people believed this led to her fans thinking she is always safe, and therefore not voting hard enough to keep her in the competition. (Unlike Sanchez though who was saved by the judges, Toscano was let go because the single judges’ save for that season was already used two weeks prior).
No girl power support?
Another theory is the “tween girl effect” named after the perceived demographic of most American Idol viewers and voters – leading to the ultimate win of the “good-looking non-threatening cute guy” for four straight seasons since season 7.
The past few seasons show the girl contenders get plucked out one by one while the guys stay strong in the competition. Like most TV voting, American Idol does not apply a one number, one vote policy. A phone line can vote repeatedly for a contestant for the entire two-hour voting duration, and many people believe that the girl fans are more likely to power-vote non-stop.
Break a trend
American Idol has since been searching for a girl who can break this all-male Idol spell and many have cast their lot on Jessica Sanchez to bring back girl power in American Idol. But her elimination, although reversed by the judges, has slightly dimmed that chance.
Before this week, she remains the only girl who’s never been in the bottom 3. After this week, out of the 7 remaining contestants, only the two “good-looking non-threatening cute guys” – Colton Dixon and Phillip Phillips – remain scott-free. (An inadvertent iTunes sales figures reveal picked up by Idol-related blogs also shows that these two have the most number of songs sold during one of the Idol theme weeks).
Can Jessica still win the competition?
It’s worth noting that out of the 10 previous American Idol winners, 7 of them won with a clean, bottom-3-free record. Three of them experienced the elimination scare, with Season 3’s Fantasia Barrino even landing the bottom 3 spot, twice.
So even with her bottom 3 trip, a win is still possible.
Jessica’s ultimate Idol victory is not a guarantee as of now no matter how the judges and producer Jimmy Iovine root for her. It all depends on how she steps up her game in the weeks to come.
She must work harder in picking the right songs, upping her game (to avoid the impression that she peaked early) and, most importantly, connecting with the voters.
Whether she regains her frontrunner status is still a question, but what’s certain is that her shock elimination rattled her fans (and the Pinoy community in the USA) — which will make them vote harder, allowing Jessica to sail through safely in a few more weeks.
And certainly, it should be a warning for Jessica as well to always be better than her best. – Rappler.com
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