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Jessica Sanchez

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The runner-up on American Idol's 11th season, Jessica Sanchez is a big-voiced singer in the mold of Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. The daughter of a Mexican-American Navy veteran father and a Filipina mother, Sanchez was born and raised in Chula Vista, California, began singing at the age of two, and was competing in national singing competitions and talent shows, including Showtime at the Apollo and America's Got Talent, by age ten. She began pursuing a recording career in her early teens, cutting a version of Rihanna's "Don't Stop the Music" for Spin Move Records when she was 14, and performed in "We Are the World 25 for Haiti [YouTube Edition]," a charity project for victims of Haiti's earthquake, in 2010. The following summer, at age 16, Sanchez auditioned for American Idol and ultimately became one of the 13 finalists for season 11. During that season, she won praise from the judges for her performances of "I Will Always Love You," Billy Joel's "Everybody Has a Dream," and Beyoncé's "Sweet Dreams," and in April 2012, the judges used their once-a-season privilege to save her when Sanchez ended up in the bottom three contestants. Sanchez became one of the season's final two contestants along with ultimate winner Phil Phillips; after Idol ended, she performed at PBS' National Memorial Day Concert in Washington, D.C., as well as at the Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley fight and at the 2012 NBA finals. In 2013, Sanchez delivered her debut album, Me, You & the Music, featuring guest appearances from Ne-Yo and Rose Royce.

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1995 in Chula Vista, CA

Years Active:

'00s, '10s