It is the kind of welcome that recently eliminated American Idol contestant Hollie Cavanagh missed by just one week. The kind of reception that all aspiring artists imagine but few will ever experience.
Last week, after earning her spot in the top three, Jessica Sanchez headed home to Chula Vista, Calif., to bask in the glow of her burgeoning fame. Thousands gathered early in the morning Saturday, anxious to catch a glimpse of Sanchez and for the opportunity to hear her sing. As is customary for Idols who earn their hometown visits, Jessica was also honored by the Chula Vista mayor with her very own "Jessica Sanchez Day."
No word yet on how Beebe Chez feels about being denied her own honorary day.
Jessica Sanchez took to the East Lake High School football stadium stage to perform for her fans dressed in pale pink pants and a white crop top. Jessica looked the part of a sixteen-year-old girl although her song choices continued to belie her age. Choosing, "Try a Little Tenderness," "Stuttering," "Proud Mary," and the ever-popular Whitney Houston hit, "I will Always Love You," Jessica continued her trend of selecting songs with lyrics and emotions that a sixteen-year-old has little first-hand experience with.
Later in the day, Jessica visited the USS Midway on San Diego's Broadway Pier where she was joined on stage by her family for her performances of "Try A Little Tenderness," the "U.S. National Anthem," and the more age-appropriate, "Dance with my Father Again," which Jessica performed and dedicated to her father several weeks ago on the American Idol stage. Jessica's father, a member of the Unites States Navy is preparing to deploy to Singapore.
With just two weeks left in the competition, Jessica Sanchez fans are rallying hard to ensure that American Idol breaks their five-year drought of female winners and crowns sole-female finalist Jessica as Season 11's Idol. But gender aside, remaining finalists Phil Phillips and Joshua Ledet, each offer something that Jessica continues to struggle with: a clear identity.
What do you think? Does Jessica Sanchez have what it takes to be your American Idol? Or do her performances, which often lack genuine emotion, leave you wanting more?