Try as she might, Jessica Sanchez just couldn’t beat out American Idol fan favorite Phillip Phillips for the Season 11 title, and while the 16-year-old tells Us Weekly Phillips fully deserved top honors, she wishes she could have came out on top for the sake of her female fans.
“Being the last girl standing was really one disappointment for me. Phillip deserved it, but I wanted to win for my girls!” Sanchez told Us during a Tuesday visit to our New York City offices. “I made it pretty far, though, so I’m happy about everything.”
Blowing viewers away with her powerful duet with Jennifer Holliday on the May 23 finale was a dream come true for the Chula Vista, Calif., teen, who calls Dreamgirls‘ Holliday her own “idol.” “She is an amazing vocalist and that was an empowering moment for me. I’ve never sang with someone like that where we could feed off each other’s energy,” Sanchez explains. “She was in my face, I was in her face and it was really fun.”
Reuniting with her fellow Idol finalists for this season’s Idols Live! summer concert tour, Sanchez says she couldn’t be happier to catch up again with her “big brother,” champ Phillips. “Phillip really fought through the competition, not only mentally but physically,” Sanchez tells Us of this season’s champ, who underwent eight surgeries to alleviate kidney pain during the show and will endure an additional procedure prior to hitting the road.
Once Phillips, 21, is well enough to join his Idol peers, Sanchez says there will be a lot of good-natured ribbing as the singers tour the country. “He’s like a big brother to me. I will prank him on tour,” she hints. “I’ll be like the Heejun [Han] of the Idol family — he was pranking everyone in the beginning!”
American Idol‘s summer concert tour — featuring Sanchez, Phillips, Han, Colton Dixon, DeAndre Brackensick, Elise Testone, Erika Van Pelt, Hollie Cavanagh, Joshua Ledet and Skylar Laine — kicks off July 6 in Detroit.