BALANGA, Bataan, Philippines – Although 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez finished second to Phillip Phillips in the 11th season of “American Idol,” she remains the winner in the hearts of her relatives here and millions of fans.
“It was as if my heart crumbled to pieces when her name was not announced the winner. But still we are very proud of her, making the Bugay clan known all over the world as an extraordinary, talented artist,” said Emelita Bugay Saldaa, a maternal relative of Sanchez in Samal town in this province.
The guitar-strumming Phillips was declared the winner of “American Idol” yesterday after viewers cast a record 132 million votes. The 21-year-old from Georgia, who stamped his style with individual and sometimes quirky arrangements, beat the big voice and power ballads of Sanchez, a Filipino-Mexican from California.
Thousands of spectators braved the rains and stood in the open plaza here to watch the season finale of the US television show.
When Phillips was announced as the winner, the crowd let out a collective “Ay” and stood motionless, while some said the decision was unexpected.
Ernie Bugay Esconde, a second cousin of Sanchez’s grandfather Eddie Bugay, said they are happy and very proud because Jessica is a topnotch singer, not just because she is a relative but one “who is truly worthy of recognition.”
“Whether she makes it or not, we are still happy for her credible performance in the field of music,” Esconde added.
A septuagenarian female relative said Sanchez “deserves recognition for her spectacular feat in the world of music and her achievement should be acknowledged by the government even in a small way.”
City Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia III said the American Idol finale revealed the inherent quality of Sanchez as a naturally gifted singer.
Garcia expressed his admiration for Sanchez in reaching the finale of the American Idol.
“As far we are concerned, (Sanchez is) the ultimate champion and Filipino Idol the country should be proud of,” Garcia said.
He said the city government is extending an invitation for Sanchez to perform at the historic Mt. Samat. Malacañang said Sanchez obtained the loyal and enthusiastic support of Filipinos the world over. “Throughout her long, arduous journey, people considered Ms. Sanchez a performer imbued with an extraordinary gift of music and heart. This is only the beginning for Ms. Sanchez, whose incredible talent has been recognized and appreciated the world over,” presidential deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a statement.
Vice President Jejomar Binay said Sanchez made all Filipinos proud of her achievement.
Binay said he and the entire Filipino people consider Sanchez as the winner.
“Although Jessica Sanchez was not lucky to become the American Idol, she is still the winner for the heart of each Filipinos,” Binay said.
Lawmakers also hailed Sanchez, with accolades waiting to honor her achievement.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. earlier said the House of Representatives would honor Sanchez win or lose.
“She strengthened our sense of patriotism, unity and love for our country,” Belmonte said, adding Sanchez’s achievements reminded foreigners of the many artistic talents of Filipinos.
Bataan Rep. Herminia Roman, whose congressional district includes Samal town from where Sanchez’s mother hails, led the filing of a resolution congratulating the American Idol runner-up.
Roman commended Sanchez “for her impeccable performance and display of extraordinary talent during the 11th season of American Idol.”
Bataan’s 2nd District Rep. Albert Garcia also sponsored a House Resolution congratulating Sanchez.
Garcia filed a resolution citing that Sanchez “has shown innate Filipino talent which has stunned the whole world, earning adulation of millions and making a beacon of inspiration of Filipinos everywhere, earning multiple standing ovations from the judges throughout the competition.”
Bacolod City Rep. Anthony Golez, in a separate resolution, cited the teen for her “excellent voice and unparalleled performances.”
Golez said Sanchez’s “exceptional talent ... will catapult her to international success in the music and entertainment industry.”
House Majority Leader and Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales II said Sanchez’s runner-up finish was “an excellent feat for a very young lady.”
“Her unparalleled feat in AI definitely showcased the talent of Filipinos and this alone is a huge achievement for Jessica who will always be our Filipino idol,” Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles said.
Ang Kasangga party-list Rep. Teodorico Haresco filed a similar resolution, saying the nation won with Sanchez.
“Some may think we have lost but we have won in our hearts. Filipinos in the US were galvanized to support this beautiful voice. Someday soon a Filipino will be the American Idol,” Haresco said.
“Had Jessica shown a bit of ‘white’ from her Mexican side, the market would have been overwhelmingly on her side,” Haresco said.
The Philippine Star