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SAMAL, Bataan – It was a veritable fiesta on Thursday in the village where the family of American Idol finalist Jessica Sanchez's mother hails from: street bands, nonstop music filtering through public places, free food, and sheer excitement in the air, as relatives, friends and the entire community prepared for the public viewing of the first of two days of the most popular American franchise’s continuing eliminations.
Not a few expressed concern about Jessica's tweet on Wednesday about her sore throat, but kept their hopes high that the talented child of Samal’s daughter Editha Bugay, married to a Mexican-American, would make history soon.
With a scintillating performance that caused judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler to spout superlatives, they were vindicated. Even though she was the only one of the three finalists not to get a full standing ovation from the judges.
"My All" of Mariah Carey was a song that Jennifer Lopez was said to have picked for her.
Jessica’s grandmother Virgie Bugay (left) is seen clapping here.
Tyler predicted after Jessica’s rendition of that song, “you’ll be the last one standing.”
Jessica wore a purple gown done by Filipino designer Oliver Tolentino, eliciting more gushing from those who came out for the public viewing sponsored by Cignal Digital Broadcasting. Cignal provided a satellite hook-up and a wide screen television at Samal's town plaza, allowing everyone to watch Jessica on Thursday and on Friday.
Jessica’s dad Gilbert Sanchez (left) dancing with Editha.
Meanwhile, the faculty and staff of BLC (Bataan Learning Center) international School, an academic institution owned by Jessica Sanchez's relatives in Orani, Bataan, together with the Joyous Speech group, also expressed support for Sanchez.
Jessica's relatives in Bataan were geared for a sleepless Thursday night.
Her grandfather Renato Bugay said, "Hindi ko na itatanggi di na kami halos nakakatulog ngayon; kung galing at galing lang, alam naman natin si Jessica ang pinakamagaling sa kanila [I won’t deny that we hardly sleep these days. Well, if talent were the only measure, there’s no denying she’s really the best of them all]."
Jessica’s family on her mother’s side (from L): mom Editha, Lola Virgie Bugay and Lolo Eddie
Her mother’s family, especially Catherine Bugay-Cajusay and Didith Guillermo, generously shared with TV5 photos of their loved ones: there was Jessica’s mom Editha Bugay dancing with her Mexican-American dad Gilbert Sanchez; her grandmother Virgie Bugay; and a photo tribute of the young Jessica, put together by the BLC staff and faculty.
Jessica’s Los Angeles-based uncle Ed Bugay Quiambao echoes the talk of sleeplessness in Samal: “Kahit nasa trabaho kami rito hala, boto lang kami nang boto! Redial lang ng redial hahaha!”
On Friday, after the audience voting, the verdict will be known: whether Jessica will remain among the top two in the grand finals.
Three generations of women in Samal’s famous family: Lola Virgie, Mommy Editha, flanking Jessica.