'Idol' shocker: Judges save Jessica Sanchez
MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) - Fil-Mexican Jessica Sanchez almost ended her American Idol journey Thursday night (Friday in Manila) after she got the lowest number of votes in this week's elimination round.
It was a night of surprises for the Idol show as 2 of the most praised contestants in the competition, Sanchez and Joshua Ledet, landed in the bottom 3 for the first time.
Elise Testone completed the bottom 3 for this week's elimination round.
Host Ryan Seacrest said both Ledet and Testone were safe. This left Sanchez with the lowest number of votes and in danger of elimination if the judges did not save her.
Sanchez started singing "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here" by Deborah Cox for the save when she was stopped by the Idol judges who all rushed to the stage to embrace the bewildered 16-year-old.
"Give me that mic! This is crazy! We're using the save. You ain't going home! Go sit down," Lopez told Sanchez as the 'Idol' crowd stood on their feet, cheering and applauding.
Randy Jackson said he and fellow judges Lopez and Steven Tyler agreed to use their one save for the season to keep Sanchez on the show.
"We are saving Jessica Sanchez without any doubt. Let me just say this. This girl is one of the best singers in America. Are you kidding me? Everybody please vote for the best! It's about finding the best!" he said.
Sanchez said she wasn't thinking about anything when she saw the judges go up the stage. She also said she wasn't surprised by the results of the voting this week.
"I don't expect anything. I just do what I do. Whatever happens happens, and I just want people to know that I've been working hard my entire life," she said.
Sanchez has consistently been praised by the Idol judges for her vocal skills. On Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) Sanchez gave a soulful rendition of Jazmine Sullivan's "Stuttering," prompting judge Randy Jackson to say that she "slayed the biggest fish of the night."
The use of the judges' could mean that 2 contestants will be eliminated next week.
Sanchez thanked her fans via her Twitter account @JSanchezAI11. "I love you guys so much! You really are the most amazing supporters a gal can have. <3 Mwah! :*," she said.
Remembering Jennifer Hudson
Celebrity website TMZ was the first to hear rumors of the Idol shocker after reporting that one of the favorites to win the competition will be eliminated.
"Sources connected with the show tell TMZ ... producers are scrambling to persuade the judges to use their 'save' on the contestant," TMZ reported.
The website said Idol producers thought 2 contestants in the bottom 3 were strong candidates to win the entire competition. Lopez earlier said Sanchez and Ledet were good enough to make it to the finals.
The report said the contestant who got the lowest votes is the one Idol producers thought was the strongest on the show.
"They are as stunned over the vote as they were when Jennifer Hudson was kicked off the show," the report said.