MANILA, Philippines – Filipina-Mexican-American Jessica Sanchez, the runner-up in “American Idol” Season 11, turned 17 on Saturday.
|Jessica Sanchez. File photo
The now 17-year-old singing sensation celebrates her birthday on the road, as she embarks on a concert tour across the United States along with nine other "Idol" finalists.
Despite being on tour, Sanchez kept in touch with her followers, who she endearingly calls "blujays," via micro-blogging site Twitter.
On the eve of her birthday, the term "Jessica Sanchez Birthday Countdown" was among the top trending topics on the social networking site.
Also on Twitter, her fellow "Idol" finalist Hollie Cavanagh encouraged Sanchez to go "shopping" on her birthday: "Happy Birthday @JSanchezAI11 <3 have a lovely day! Bring on the shopping! (:"
A year earlier, Sanchez was among the aspiring contestants of reality singing contest "American Idol." Born in Chula Vista, California, the teen singer with Filipino roots finished second on the show.
Her journey on the "American Idol" stage was closely watched and passionately supported by her legions of fans, Filipino-born and otherwise.
Among other worthwhile efforts, her mother's hometown in the Philippines organized viewing parties for her champion bid, while Filipinos in the United States made organized efforts to vote for the teen singing sensation.
Best known for her rendition of the Dreamgirls hit song "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" during her "Idol" stint, Sanchez has since earned a record deal with Interscope Records.
Coinciding almost with her 17th birthday, Sanchez also recently revealed that she is in a relationship with fellow "Idol" finalist Deandre Brackensick.
Along with other "Idol" alumni, Sanchez continues touring North America for "American Idols LIVE! Tour 2012." The concert series is set for its finale show on September 21 in the Philippines.