Seeking her roots

American Idol star Jessica Sanchez sings the national anthem during the Pacquiao-Bradley fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – When American Idol star Jessica Sanchez sang the national anthem during the Manny PacquiaoTimothy Bradley fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena here in June, it was the closest she came to paying tribute to her roots.

She had wanted to sing, too the Bayang Magiliw,” the Philippine national anthem, but could not, and another girl, Kirby Asunto, sang it, so Sanchez sang the “Star Spangled Banner” instead.

The day before, she met with Benigno Aquino III, the Philippine president at a courtesy call in Los Angeles, in the course of the Filipino leader’s state visit to the U.S.

In that meeting with Aquino, Sanchez, whose mother hails from Samal, Bataan in the Philippines, expressed the desire to visit her mom’s homeland in the future.

“I’ve never been out of the country,” she told Fox News Latino in another interview. “So I would love to go.”

She said she’d also want to visit Mexico, her father’s birthplace, as she takes pride in both her heritages and cultures.

“There’s never a time when I’m more than the other,” she said in that interview with Fox News Latino.  “I grew up with both cultures.”

In fact, folks from both cultures, even those outside of the United States, were Sanchez’ most ardent supporters and devotedly voted for her every week to keep her in the competition.

They were dismayed, but expressed pride and admiration after Sanchez emerged runner-up to Phillip Phillips in the finale.

The 16-year-old Sanchez, who began singing at age 2, and as an 11-year-old joined America’s Got Talent, is now on a tour around the country, along with the Top 10 contestants of Idol’s Season 11.

Unfortunately, Las Vegas is not one of the cities the tour will visit. It started July 6 in Detroit and will end on Sept. 11 in Milwaukee.

But more than any place, Sanchez wants to perform in Manila, where concert promoters there are fighting each other to get here to perform in front of her kababayans (countrymen).

” I would love to do that,” she said. “They helped me a lot and I love them so much.”

Still in high school, Sanchez wants to go to college while polishing her singing skills in the meantime. Next season, she is expected to join the hit television series “Glee,” and recording deals are on the way.

“I’ve been doing this since I was 7 years old,” she said. Don’t let anything distract you if you really want this.”



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