American Idol: Jessica Sanchez Rocks Queen, Sings Tribute to Father

Jessica Sanchez took on rock and roll on American Idol, channeling her inner Freddy Mercury as she kicked off the evening singing Queen’s 1975 hit, “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Sanchez, 16, gave the rock song a melodic twist before taking the stage a second time and tackling Luther Vandross.

“I think Freddy Mercury would have been proud to hear that,” rock star Steven Tyler told Sanchez, referring to Queen's lead vocalist. He did point out that rock isn’t Sanchez’s “forte” but said he still loves her voice.

“You were good today,” Tyler added. “Good for you.”

Music executive Randy Jackson agreed with Tyler, saying he was impressed with the way Sanchez “changed herself from what she naturally does.”

“I love it,” said Jackson. “What you did is used great restraint. You’re mad young. You’re 16. You’re unbelievably talented.”

Jackson did give Sanchez some advice on channeling her inner rock star.

“Watch Tina Turner,” said Jackson. “She’s that big voice in rock in the female form.”

Superstar Jennifer Lopez liked Sanchez’s rendition of the tune, but felt she lacked the rock aspect in her performance.

“Here’s the thing, you sounded beautiful singing that song,” Lopez said. “When it went into the more rock part of it…in needed more of that rock performance.”

“But, all in all, great performance,” Lopez added.

As the evening carried on, Sanchez became emotional, as she revealed that her father would soon be deployed to Singapore.

“My dad was been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan," Sanchez said. "And now he will be deployed again to Singapore.”

The Filipino-Mexican singer added that it has been difficult to deal with news of his deployment because she’s “such a daddy’s girl.”

Sanchez then took the stage again, this time slowing it down and singing Luther Vandross’ “A Night With my Father.”

As a silhouette in the background appeared of a father carrying a baby, Sanchez was nearly in tears, singing the tribute to her father.

The judges were happy with her performance.

“Luther Vandross is one of my favorite singers ever,” Lopez said. “I don't think we've seen anyone sing it that good.”

To prove her point, JLO then told Sanchez how she’s heard many renditions of that song while being a judge on Idol.

“[It was] the feeling for me," Lopez added. “It’s the most beautiful I've heard it.”

Tyler told Sanchez he loves her versatility as a singer and that it has been a pleasure to see her “evolve” musically throughout the competition.

“I don't think you can sing a song badly,” Tyler said. “It touches on Whitney but you also got your own thing going on.”

Like Tyler and Lopez, Jackson was even more impressed a second time around.

“I'm so amazed at the talent this year,” said Jackson.”You are truly amazing.”

“You’re so natural. It flows and, like Jennifer said, now you got the feeling, that connection. Every time you sing you know what's wrong with it? Absolutely nothing,” a pleased Jackson said.

Sanchez said she was content with her performance, adding that she couldn’t wait to see her father, who was stopping by Thursday night.

“I haven't seen him in so long,” Sanchez said. “To see him before he goes to Singapore will be amazing.”

On Thursday evening, American Idol alum and part Mexican singer Stefano Langone will take the stage with singer Katy Perry.

You can reach Alexandra Gratereaux at: or via Twitter: @GalexLatino


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