Jessica Sanchez of American Idol : What Makes Her Phenomenal?
What makes Jessica Sanchez, American Idol Top contender, phenomenal that many seem to be drawn by her presence? Many appreciate her powerful voice. Many like her fashion sense and her petite form. Many have been “addicted” by her Youtube videos including videos of her pre- American Idol days. Many have talked about her hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers who adore her, including former American Idol winners and music producers. This hub attempts to give a deeper insight into the “phenomenon” that is Jessica Sanchez.
I have trained many performing artists in my time and I do am able to see deeper into the soul of those I train even if I do not have sufficient personal backgrounds on each of them. I “see” them and “sense” them through the truth displayed in their performances. This gift I posses, help me in mentoring artists under my tutelage. What I will share with you is my humble observations of why Jessica Sanchez has become a phenomenon at this point.
After my mild stroke over a month ago, I thought it best to watch videos that entertained me and not stressed me, as a form of therapy. American Idol was one of the television shows that gave me a good feeling especially that my doctors disallowed me to join the trip to Taiwan for the summer tour of a musical production I directed. I guess the American Idol show was the closest I could be to a musical production I missed. At the same time I was interested about the fact that there was one contestant who happened to have a Mexican-Filipino-American blood. I wanted to know how she would fair and thus began my “inquisition”.
Jessica Sanchez’s Musical Intelligence Displayed
Howard Gardner, developer of the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, states that "People with a high Musical Intelligence normally have good pitch and may even have absolute pitch. They have sensitivity to rhythm, pitch, meter, tone, melody or timbre.” This statement alone explains why Jessica Sanchez, can do any kind of song effortlessly.
With this kind of musical intelligence it is not surprising that she has great control of her voice, her breathing, her tone, her musical accents, timber etc... with every song she sings. This intelligence allows her to interpret songs in her own special way and with ease. She is fully aware of her vocal powers but I suspect she is not fully aware of this beautiful gift of musical intelligence she possesses.
At this point I feel Jessica is simply doing all these things intuitively. It would be beneficial that she be aware of her musical intelligence that she may use it to further increase her sense of worth and confidence. Sense of worth is based on valuing her gift and confidence is based on skills and knowledge gained.
Jessica Sanchez’s Enthusiasm to Learn Evident in Her Performances
Jessica’s enthusiasm to learn has been demonstrated on every performance she gave. I’ve made a YouTube Playlist chronologically arranged which you may use as reference on the points I will discuss in this portion and in all the observations I will share, for the matter. Here are areas that show how much she wants to learn:
- Open to Experiment to Achieve the Idol Look: Be it her hairstyle, her clothes, shoes and accessories, Jessica is willing to experiment with her look and trust the in-house stylists. She dares. She likes the experience even if she may end up wearing something “inappropriate” for her age given her particular song choice, as what American Idol in-house coach, Jimmy Lovine, noted when she did her “Proud Mary” rendition. However, because of her desire to learn from her mentors she adjusted readily in her next performances. This leads to the next point.
- Open to Corrections and Lives Her Motto “Work Hard. Stay Humble”: Humility covers the area of accepting her own weak points and then willing to work hard on them to develop them into strengths. She apparently listens to her mentors advises, the judges’ comments and opinions of her fans. I personally feel that is a mark of a good student. This is the reason why she improves with every performance. She listens. Some of the corrections she worked on were the following:
- saving her breath to have enough to the next strong points of the song
- effective use of her vibrato
- sparingly use her growl in the future
- using appropriate emotions for every song
- Knows When To Be Her Own Person. Jessica she is able to filter out the comments, advises and preferences of people on what she needs to improve on. She has her individuality. I believe she showed the world what she is made up when she did her own version of Jennifer Holliday’s “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going.” You will know what I mean when you review the performance on the video embedded in this hub.
- Adaptability to Communicate with the Live Audience and Television Viewers. Her pre-American Idol videos helped in this particular skill. For an amateur singer performing live on television in front of a live audience can be daunting especially if you have to do a number that is emotionally packed.
The performer is typically given directions as to where they are to be positioned on stage and what setting they will be working on. The television director tells you what camera goes where on what point of the song. The performer needs to remember all these directions while making sure to keep rapport with the live audience, sing to the TV viewers and interpret the chosen song the best they can. It could send added pressure to any newbie but Jessica showed professionalism. She was not intimidated even when she did her interpretations of “Will Always Love You “, “Everybody Has a Dream”, “Dance with My Father”, “You Are So Beautiful” and in her most powerful performance of yet, “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going”.
Jessica Sanchez’s Growing Influence in 16
Jessica doesn’t hide the fact that she is still 16 years old. While many try to hide their “clumsiness” as an adolescent, she laughs it all as seen on her near mishap when she sang Jazmine Sullivan’s "Stuttering" where she almost missed the grand piano to get back into sitting position --- without missing a beat in her song. Her childish smile after the song connected well with what the audience felt too. That made her real for many. That made her reachable to many.
These 16 year old “awkward” moments can also be found in other performances like:
- “Sweet Dreams” where she readily went back to the door where she came in and slightly tripped and smiled before she closed the door. I guess, she almost forgot the directions that she had to go back to the door when the song ends which could explain her sudden movement toward the door
- “Turn on the Beat Around” where she uses the gesture of pointing to her ear on the lyrics “..love to HEAR percussion” almost every time. The lack of versatility using gestures shows her age.
- “How Will I Know” where she again uses very contrived gestures on the lyrics like “telephone” and “shy”. Though she has the swagger she admits that she doesn’t really dance.
- “Proud Mary” where she tries her best to dance in a fitted dress. I commend her though for effort and I guess this is one area she needs to be comfortable with. Dancing is after all important if she intends to get into the music industry.
- Her Embarrassed Tongue Gesture while watching Jimmy Lovine’s comment on her “Proud Mary” performance
- And the memorable stunned, spaced-out and dazed look she displayed when Jennifer Lopez grabbed the microphone from her to announce the judges call to save her from elimination.
Her being a typical 16-year old candidly showing her weaknesses, has done wonders for her popularity. I guess that’s why she has captured a wide market. The young resonate with her while the older audience would like to take care of her. The music industry is amazed that a 16-year old can have exceptional vocal skills. And directors like me make her performances an example for what to do and what not to do.
I guess her influence has gone far beyond her having a Mexican-Filipino-American blood. She has helped American Idol fans around the world appreciate songs that many are not familiar with which belong to different genres. Now, many are enjoying the songs and learning to see its value. That makes her an accidental music appreciation teacher. I wear a silly grin.
Jessica Sanchez’s Truth Exposed
I have always taught my actors that TRUTH in a performance will capture every soul in a venue of presentation especially television when truth is captured in close-ups. The best way to interpret any piece is to get it from deep within the soul of the performer. Jessica exploded her truth in her Dream Girls piece of “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going”.
She used her experience of being almost voted out and then saved by the judges to motivate her. She used the lyrics of the song to aptly express her desires and dreams to be the best. She showed everyone that she deserved to be given the chance. She told the world she has what it takes and she is willing to work for it. She declared her own value, her own belief on herself and her capability to run the race. She announced her readiness to accept the challenge. She clearly claims to all, “YOU’RE GONNA LOVE ME”. Many believed her and believe her still that she will make true her promise.
I believe that if she continues to allow herself to be vulnerable and express deeply and fully the way she did her "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" version, then more people will be captured by her own special charisma. Be it a slow or fast song, if she just lets it all out in the finals, and simply enjoy every song she takes on, then I believe her star will shine brighter in this universe.
Many of her performance showed her capacity to be versatile even if she had to do so with a sore throat. That shows what a trouper she is. I believe that one thing that helps her cope with the stress on the demands of the contest is her sheer excitement over being part of American Idol – a dream fulfilled.
All these things and more make Jessica Sanchez phenomenal.