‘American Idol’: Jessica Sanchez sings Mariah, Aerosmith, Jackson 5

Jessica Sanchez battles a sore throat to cover Mariah Carey, Aerosmith, and Jackson 5

"I DON'T WANNA MISS A THING." "American Idol" contestant Jessica Sanchez sings the Aerosmith classic "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing," Wednesday, May 16, 2012. Screengrab from FOX Television.

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Despite tweeting that her throat isn’t feeling “at its best,” American Idol finalist Jessica Sanchez sang what could be her most crucial performances in the singing competition on Wednesday, May 16 (Thursday, May 17 in Manila).

The night was all about “choices”: the finalists have to sing 3 songs selected by a judge, mentor Jimmy Iovine, and themselves, as the three battle for a spot in the finals of America’s most-watched reality competition.

For Sanchez, ‘Idol’ judge Jennifer Lopez chose the Mariah Carey hit “My All,” saying she wanted the 16-year-old finalist to sing a song like it. Sanchez performed the song wearing a purple gown, standing all alone on a platform on the ‘Idol’ stage.

“There’s a tenderness in this song that I feel that she will kill,” Lopez said, adding it will be a “really nice moment” for the young singer, dubbed “diva-in-training” by American media.

After her performance, the judges all praised her for doing a “beautiful” rendition of the hit ballad.

“I’m telling you what, I think it’s one of the best times a Mariah song has ever been performed on TV,” judge Randy Jackson said, adding they usually don’t encourage contestants to take on Carey songs.

Lopez said Sanchez did the “hard song” beautifully. “You did it in your own way,” adding that she loved the fact the contestant did not go for the “big part at the end.”

Steven Tyler, meanwhile, said Jessica should “just get used to encore.”

“You’ll be the last one standing here, I believe,” he said. This prompted host Ryan Seacrest to ask, “did you just predict the winner?”

Personal choice

She then performed “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith – a bold choice, since the band’s lead singer Tyler is one of the judges. 

Her rendition of the song made Tyler, the original voice behind it, stand up and applaud.

“You just took a great song and made it greater. Thank you,” the rock icon said.

“That was amazing,” Lopez said. “Really, really great job, baby.”

“You’re choosing some really tough hills to climb,” Jackson, meanwhile, said, noting that her performance started slow but built up its momentum.

All three also agreed Sanchez gave justice to the hit song.

“I’ll Be There”

For her last song, Sanchez sang “I’ll Be There,” a Jackson 5 classic, chosen by ‘Idol’ mentor and music executive Jimmy Iovine. Iovine said he picked the song because it could appeal to older audiences but still show her youth.

Judge Jackson said he liked it, but not that much, arguing there was “never a ‘moment’ moment” compared to the other two finalists.

The crowd voiced their displeasure at his comments, booing after he said, “Can’t I have an opinion?”

On the other hand, judges Lopez and Tyler loved her performance and praised her rendition of the song, closely associated to the late King of Pop Michael Jackson.

“Perfect song, perfect voice, you nailed it. Delicious,” Tyler said.

“You almost sounded like Michael,” Lopez said, adding that she had a “perfect tone” in her voice.

Meanwhile, the two other finalists, Joshua Ledet and Phillip Phillips, sang these songs:

Joshua Ledet:

“I’d Rather Go Blind” (Etta James) (selected by judge Randy Jackson)

“Imagine” (John Lennon) (personal choice)

“No More Drama” (Mary J. Blige) (Jimmy Iovine’s choice)

Phillip Phillips:

“Beggin'” (Madcon) (selected by judge Steven Tyler)

“Disease” (Matchbox 20) (personal choice)

“We’ve Got Tonight” (Bob Segar) (Iovine’s choice)

Compared to the two other finalists, Sanchez was the only one not to get a standing ovation from all three judges in this particular night.

Aside from the performances, the three finalists’ hometown visits were also featured. Ledet visited Westlake, Louisiana; Sanchez flew to Chula Vista, California; and Phillips met hometown fans at Leesburg, Georgia.

Clips of the three finalists performing infront of their hometown crowds were shown prior to them singing the songs they personally chose.

Prior to her performance, on Tuesday Sanchez tweeted that her throat’s not feeling well, and that she has been drinking tea to lessen the discomfort.

On Thursday, May 17 (Friday, May 18 in Manila), one last contestant will be eliminated, and the final two will go on to the finals, which will be next Tuesday and Wednesday (May 22 and 23 in the US; Wednesday and Thursday, May 23 and 24 in Manila). – Rappler.com

More on Jessica’s ‘Idol’ journey

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