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Jessica Sanchez conquers Filipino hearts on Valentine's Day

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by Maila Ager
Inquirer, Feb. 18, 2013

MANILA - After waiting for about half an hour, the jam-packed crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City was starting to get impatient, repeatedly calling out her name: “Jessica! Jessica! Jessica!”

But the long wait was worth it when American Idol Season 11 runner-up Jessica Sanchez emerged on stage in a silver mini dress singing her own version of “Can’t take my eyes off of you.”

It was her fellow American Idol finalist Colton Dixon who opened her Valentine’s Day concert at 8:30 p.m. last Thursday.

Dixon performed six songs that included Lifehouse’s “Everything” and “Meant to Love” by Switchfoot.

When Dixon’s 15-minute front act ended, the lights went off, leaving the crowd in anticipation of Sanchez’s first number.

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So when the Filipino-Mexican of “Idol” fame finally appeared a little past 9 p.m. and did her opening song, eager anticipation was replaced by deafening cheers and applause from the audience.

“Mabuhay Manila!” Sanchez told her screaming fans, who were unstoppable when she gave her own version of “Human nature,” “Love on top,” and “Someone like you.”

Dixon returned on stage to do a duet with Sanchez of “Love the way you lie”.

The highlight of the show was when Sanchez, this time clad in a white dress, sang “Ikaw” popularized by megastar Sharon Cuneta.

The crowd went wild and gave Sanchez a standing ovation after.

The screams only got louder when she belted out Whitney Houston’s “I will always love you” and Jennifer Holiday’s “And I am telling you.”

Sanchez dedicated a song to her dad, “ Dance with my father” who she wished “could be here tonight”.

Sanchez’s finale was an upbeat song “Fairy Tales.”

“Thank you Manila! I love you so much! Happy Valentine’s Day. Mahal ko kayong lahat. Thank you so much!” she told the audience.

She returned for her encore and sang another upbeat song, “Jump in.”

Sanchez’s performance alone only took about an hour but she didn’t fail her fans who lined up outside the venue as early as 5 p.m.

“Amazing!” a young girl exclaimed after the show.

“It was a great!” another fan said.

A 23-year-old teacher, Juddielene Caceres, came all the way from San Pedro Laguna and took a leave of absence just to watch her idol. She even brought her 17-year-old student, Kimberly Malunes, whom she said looked like Sanchez.

Because they could not afford to pay for an expensive seat close to the stage, Caceres said they brought a binocular, which they also used when Sanchez first held her first concert along with other American Idol finalists last year.

“Malayo kapag general admission na pero ok lang worth it naman pag nandoon ka na,’ she said.

Caceres said she liked the singer even more when Sanchez replied to her tweet in May last year.

“Kasi noong malapit na yung finale ng American Idol, nag tweet ako kay Jessica tapos nag reply sya kaya lalo ko syang nagustuhan,” she said.

“Kasi napapansin ko yung mga heels nya ang gaganda Sabi ko how many heels do you have..? Nagreply sya: ‘I have a lot, thank you’”

Sanchez’s crowd also included a 59-year-old employee, Anne, from Bulacan who was with other family members to watch their idol.

Also spotted at the concert were former Chief Justice Renato Corona and his wife, and former Pagcor chairman Efraim Genuino.

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