Lea: 'Idol' stint only beginning for Jessica

Posted at 05/24/12 8:46 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- Tony Award winner Lea Salonga is confident that Filipina-Mexican "American Idol" runner-up Jessica Sanchez is set for bigger success after her stint on the world's most popular singing competition.

Lea Salonga. File photo

Hours after contestant Phillip Phillips was crowned winner on the singing contest, Salonga, who has been supportive of Sanchez's "Idol" bid, said there is no reason to be sad over the loss of the pint-sized Pinoy pride.

"I don't think anybody should feel sad. I mean, she has been watched by millions and millions and millions of viewers around the world, and that's exposure that you cannot buy. And she's very young, she's 16 years old, and she has a bright future," Salonga said in an interview with ABS-CBN News.

"For so many people who just want to get their foot in the door, she's [already] gotten her whole self through the door, and I think she's made her family very proud. She should be very proud for everything she has done," she added.

As for avid supporters of Sanchez, whose mother is a Filipina who hails from Bataan, Salonga said the 16-year old star was able to do the best she possibly could during her time on "Idol," a feat any fan of hers should be happy about.

"[Jessica] was able to, to the best of her ability, do with whatever was in her control, which was her voice. You cannot control the voters, you cannot control how people are going to vote, you can't," Salonga said.

"All you can do is the best that you can with what you have, and you just hope for the best. The entire country was very hopeful, but should be happy," she said.

Another reason why fans of Sanchez should remain hopeful is the fact that many contestants who did not win "American Idol" ended up with successful careers, such as Season 8 runner up Adam Lambert.

"Just because you are proclaimed the titleholder, it doesn't always translate into long-lasting success. Sometimes it's the runner-up that has the better career. I'm just being objective," Salonga said.

"You have Jennifer Hudson, who won an Oscar, and basically an incredible career for herself, and she's won Grammys, [she's] a movie star," she added.

Salonga, whose success as an international artist was likewise followed by Filipinos, also said the definitive measure of success for Sanchez and Phillips will be their career after their time on "Idol."

"From this point on really is what will determine success for either one of them," Salonga said.