By Guilherme Paixão
Wednesday, May 23 2012
Jessica Sanchez was born in Chula Vista, California on August 4, 1995. To parents Gilbert and Editha Sanchez . She was raised in Eastlake, Chula Vista, along with two younger brothers. Her father, a Mexican American originally from Texas, is a U.S. Navy veteran who fought in the Iraq War, served in Afghanistan and, as of April 2012, was expected to soon be deployed to Singapore. Her mother is a Filipina originally from Bataan Province, Philippines. Her maternal grandfather, Eddie Bugay, is a retired U.S. Navy sailor. Inspired by her Roman Catholic grandmother, Sanchez carries a rosary everywhere and prays quietly before going on stage.
She is a former student of Eastlake Middle School in Chula Vista. Back in her eighth grade, her favorite subjects were science, physical education, and choir. Her teacher remembers Sanchez as a humble girl, for when word spread at school that she sang the national anthem at a San Diego Chargers home game, she did not brag and preferred to stay in the background. She was selected for full scholarship training at the Theater of Arts in Hollywood and is currently a homeschooled high school student in 11th grade.
She started singing at the age of 2 and aspires to be a mainstream singer that can "belt but sing upbeat songs". Eminem and Beyonce are her favorite artists, while Jennifer Hudson is her favorite American Idol contestant. Other musical influences include Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Etta James, Christina Aguilera, and Michael Jackson.
Phillips grew up in Leesburg, Georgia, and attended Lee County High School. He graduated Albany Technical College with a major in Industrial Systems Technology, but missed the graduation ceremony due to his obligations to American Idol.
Phillips auditioned in Savannah, Georgia. He sang "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder. The judges then asked him to perform a second song with his guitar, and he performed Michael Jackson's "Thriller." He advanced to the Hollywood rounds, and later to the Las Vegas round.[citation needed
On February 23, 2012, Phillips was chosen as one of the Top 24 semi-finalists. For the semi-finals, he performed "In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins. He was one of the top five male vote getters and advanced to the Top 13. After the Top 13 performance night, Phillips was taken to a doctor for possible kidney stones.
Following the Top 9 round, Lee DeWyze, winner of the ninth season of American Idol, named Phillips and fellow contestant Jessica Sanchez as his top two picks this season.