There's still one week to go before American Idol's 11th season finale, but Steven Tyler made a bold prediction Wednesday that 16-year-old standout Jessica Sanchez will clinch this year's title.
Performing three numbers Wednesday, the teen from San Diego, Calif., tackled Mariah Carey's "My All" for the first judges' choice round. Jennifer Lopez — who sources tell Us Weekly will bow out of Idol after this season's finale — knew it was a tall order when choosing the song for Sanchez, and applauded her for pulling it off.
"That's hard!" Lopez, 42, said of Carey's breathy 1997 hit, which Sanchez performed despite a sore throat. "That's what we wanted to show people [with our song choice]: that you could get through a song like that and do it in a beautiful way — and you did."
Longtime Sanchez supporter Tyler, 64, was especially wowed by her rendition — and quickly declared it was game over for fellow finalists Phillip Phillips and Joshua Ledet. "When you sing you make people hang on your every note," the Aerosmith frontman said. "I hope you get used to encores. You'll be the last one standing, I believe."
Later, for Sanchez's contestants' choice pick, the petite powerhouse belted out Aerosmith's "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" to the delight of Tyler, who released the track with his band in 1998.
Ledet — who impressed with his version of Mary J. Blige's "No More Drama" among other songs — says there's no hard feelings when it comes to Tyler's endorsement of Sanchez.
"I think he was legit [in his critique], because Jessica is amazing," Ledet told Us Weekly of Tyler. "She probably could be the last one standing. I want to win, but at this point, we're all winners. I'm not gonna say I don't care, but I will be just as happy about me winning [as I would if] Phillip or Jessica win."
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