Heejun leaves, Jessica stays in Idol Top 8

Posted at 03/30/2012 9:22 AM | Updated as of 03/30/2012 1:41 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Filipino-Mexican-American belter Jessica Sanchez continued her ascent in the American Idol rankings as she landed in the top 8 of the hit talent show.

Heejun Han, the 22-year-old nonprofit organizer from New York, got the boot after receiving the fewest viewer votes. Skylar Laine and Hollie Cavanaugh completed this week's bottom 3.

Sanchez has consistently won praise from the AI judges for her vocal control, excellent song choices and great fashion.

AI judge Randy Jackson earlier predicted that Sanchez and Nashville native Colton Dixon might be competing at the finale in May.

Many of the show's followers, as well as critics, have expressed their desire to see a female contestant take the “American Idol” crown this year.

"I hope that a female wins this year. If not me then one of the other girls. But everybody here has been amazing so I really don't know," Sanchez said.

Male contestants typically get higher vote turnout due to the show's popularity among young female fans.

“I hope that changes but whatever happens, we're all going on tour," said contestant Elise Testone.

It's been five years since Jordin Sparks, the last female “American Idol” winner, took home the title and Sanchez’s fans are hoping that she will be the one to break the guys' winning streak.

This week, the “American Idol” Top 9 contestants got to sing their own idol's songs with rocker Stevie Nicks as the mentor.

Most of the Top 9's performances impressed the judges.

Sanchez picked "Sweet Dreams" by Beyonce and reinterpreted it as a ballad.

The judges were impressed and Jackson said Sanchez is the best singer he's heard in years.

"I've learned so much from the judges, from the other contestants, from this whole experience,” Sanchez said. "It just brought a lot more confidence out of me, more of a performer. I love everybody here so much and they've taught me so much. I don't ever wanna leave." -- With a report from Yong Chavez, ABS-CBN North America Bureau