MANILA, Philippines – Following reports that a popular contestant was up for elimination on ‘American Idol’ on Friday (Manila time), Filipino-Mexican Jessica Sanchez was ultimately saved by the show’s judges despite her having received the least votes from American viewers.
In a tense elimination round, Sanchez was called first along with Hollie Cavanagh to the show’s center stage. Sanchez was asked to go to the left side along with Elise Testone and Joshua Ledet, where eventually they were announced to be in the voting’s “bottom three”.
Cavanagh was joined on the right side by Philip Philips and Colton Dixon. Skylar Laine was not asked to join any group after she was the first announced to be “safe” from elimination.
Idol host Ryan Seacrest then announced that Sanchez had received the least amount of votes. She was asked to sing on stage, while the judges deliberated on whether or not to use the season’s single “save” on her.
Eventually, J.Lo interrupted Sanchez’s performance on stage and said they were indeed voting to keep the young singer in the competition.
“Give me that mic, this is crazy!” J.Lo told Sanchez when she got on the stage with Randy Jackson and Steve Tyler. “You are not going home, go sit down! Go sit down!”
Jackson then took the mic and appealed to American voters:
“We are saving Jessica without any doubt! This girl is one ofthe best singers in America, ever are you kidding me? Please vote for the best!”
A TMZ.com report earlier said that American Idol producers were “scrambling” to convince the judges to save one of the popular contestants who may face the chopping block.
Sanchez, who had never been in the bottom three and even scored three standing ovations from the judges in the past, had been among the names circulated around for elimination.
The night before, Sanchez gave another strong performance with her rendition of Jazmine Sullivan’s “Stuttering”. She received praises from the judges and was predicted to be safe during the eliminations.
But before the show’s live airing, Idol host Ryan Seacrest and producer Nigel Lythgoe both posted cryptic tweets about the elimination round.
“There is a result tonight on American Idol that some would say is very shocking,” Seacrest said via his Twitter account.
“Okay no BS, I am truly shocked by tonight’s American Idol result,” Lythgoe tweeted. “I don’t understand.”
Filipinos have been rooting for Sanchez to be the first singer with Philippine heritage to win the hit reality TV show. Other Filipino-American singers who successfully joined the competition include Thia Megia (2011, Top 11), Ramiele Malubay (2007, Top 7), Camile Velasco (Top 9, 2004) and Jasmine Trias (Top 3, 2004).
After the elimination night, Sanchez turned to Twitter to thank her fans.