Jessica Sanchez finished in second place on season 11 of American Idol, and she’s okay with that. A day after losing out to fellow hopeful Phillips Phillips, the 16-year old powerhouse singer from Chula Vista, California, talked to reporters on a conference call about her experience on the show and her future plans.
What was it like being able to sing with Jennifer Holliday on the finale?
It was so much fun. We were just in the moment. We were making the most ridiculous faces, I know. We were just digging deep and singing the heck out of that song.
Is there any song that you wanted to sing but you didn’t get to perform?
I really wanted to sing a Prince song called “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?”
What thoughts were running through your head when Phillip Phillips won? Were you surprised?
Not at all – he has such a big fanbase. We both do. We both thank our fans so much. But he’s a real “artist” artist. He always sounds like him. He sang so many different songs and always sounded like himself. I’m so proud of him, and I’m glad it was him.
The last female winner of Idol was Jordin Sparks in 2006. With an audience that is mostly girls who vote for guys to win, do you think a woman can win Idol at this point?
I don’t know. The only reason I really wanted to win was to break that guy reign. But I’m so proud of Phillip and I’m happy it was him.
A few weeks ago, you came in last place with voters and the judges had to save you. What do you think happened there?
I don’t really like to think about it. I sang a not very well-known song from a not very popular artist, but I wanted to sing it and if I [had gone home], it was from doing what I wanted to do.
Was it hard to come back after your near elimination?
It was difficult, but I didn’t lose my confidence. I just pushed harder.
Does it matter to your career that you didn’t win the title?
No, not at all. Jennifer Hudson came in seventh place, and she’s incredibly successful. Hopefully all 12 of us will have successful careers, and I cannot wait.
If you could go back and change one performance, what would it be?
I have no real regrets. I made the top two and not many people can say that. I’m content with where I am.
None of the judges liked the song that was chosen as your first single. Then you agreed that you didn’t like it either. How did you pick it? Did you have any leeway?
They didn’t give us many choices, and even with the choices we had, I had to make adjustments. Now that I do have time and variety and can look through songs, I am definitely going to make my single – my real single – 100% me.
Rumor has is it that Tommy Mottola is going to work on your first album.
I don’t know anything about this. They haven’t directly contacted me. I don’t know. [Moderator cut off the question.]
You and Jesse McCartney have been tweeting about doing a duet together. Can you tell us anything about that?
Nothing is confirmed. I’ve been really busy. Nothing is done yet.
What does this all mean to you?
I just want people to know, kids my age, that if they put their mind to it, it will happen. I’ve been working at this since I was a little kid. You just have to put your mind to it.