Review: Jessica Sanchez' Valentine concert

By Shiela Reyes, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Feb 15 2013 07:47 PM | Updated as of Feb 17 2013 08:40 AM

Jessica Sanchez' Valentine concert

MANILA, Philippines – Last night, February 14, Filipino-American singer Jessica Sanchez proved before her supporters in Manila that she has what it takes to make it to the top as a performer.

Sanchez, who rose to fame after winning second place in the eleventh season of the hit talent show “American Idol” last May, performed at the jam-packed Araneta Coliseum on Valentine’s Day for her first major solo concert.

The show, which started 30 minutes late, was opened by Sanchez’ fellow “Idol” finalist Colton Dixon’s six-song set list. Among the songs performed by Dixon were “Meant to Live” by Switchfoot, “Everything” by Lifehouse, and “Rise” and “Never Gone” – both from his newly released album “The Messenger”.

After Dixon’s performance was an intermission, which left the audience in anticipation of Sanchez’ first number.

Minutes later, Sanchez finally appeared larger than life, wearing a silver mini dress with matching glittery heels. It was as if the audience waited for so long to finally see her in person after months of rooting for her on “Idol” – they were awed into silence as she sang her own version of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”.

She then told her fans how great she feels to be back “home” in Manila again, almost half a year since she first set foot in the country.

Making the interaction just brief, the 17-year-old singer seamlessly followed her first song with her soulful rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” and Beyonce’s “Love on Top” which, for me, set the mood of the concert.

Hitting the high notes just like Beyonce, Sanchez showcased her powerful vocals, bringing the audience to their feet while applauding.

And just when the crowd already felt like partying, Sanchez toned down the momentum with Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie” and Adele’s “Someone Like You”.

Dixon then returned on stage as he joined Sanchez in a duet of Rihanna’s “Love the Way You Lie”. It was during this number when her hoarse voice started to become evident, probably due to her very hectic schedule since she arrived in the country on Sunday.

Prior to the concert, Sanchez had numerous guest appearances on television.

Highlight of the night

After singing the Rihanna hit with Dixon with a raspy voice, Sanchez returned on stage with more powerful vocals, performing something that no one was prepared for.

While she has repeatedly said in her previous interviews that she will be singing a Tagalog song in her debut concert, Sanchez still managed to surprise and capture every viewer’s heart upon hitting the first note of “Ikaw.”

Wearing a white dress reportedly created by Filipino fashion designer Rajo Laurel, Sanchez hit every note of the Filipino song almost perfectly, as if she really knew how to speak the Philippine language.

The crowd put their hands together for Sanchez during the last stanzas of “Ikaw” and gave her a standing ovation, relishing the fact that the very person whom they rooted for on “Idol” months back just sang a song familiar to almost everyone in the arena.

‘Idol’ songs

Almost through with her set list, Sanchez performed five more songs which people have already heard her sing during “Idol”.

Staying true to her words that she draws inspiration from singing icon Whitney Houston, Sanchez performed “I Will Always Love You” and “I Am Telling You” without a wince.

She also sang Luther Vandross’ “Dance With My Father”, dedicating it to her dad who had to stay behind in Los Angeles to look after her younger brothers.

Sanchez also gave a powerful rendition of Etta James’ “Steal Away” and Deborah Cox’s “Nobody’s Supposed to be Here”, which was what she sang when she almost got booted off the singing competition, only to be saved by the “Idol” judges.

Encore

Having had enough ballads for the night, Sanchez performed her last song “Fairytale” which will be included in her upcoming album set to be released in the United States in May.

This was not the first time that Sanchez performed the new song live. In August last year, Sanchez performed “Fairytale” during one of her shows in New York City, and this made some members of the audience familiar with the song.

Leaving the audience in a party mood and wanting more, Sanchez returned on stage for her encore – her most recent collaboration with apl.de.ap of The Black Eyed Peas titled “Jump In”.

Accompanied by back-up dancers, Sanchez danced and sang her way through her last number, showing her vocal and dancing chops.

Even though the show ended earlier than expected, Sanchez showed to her fans in Manila that she is indeed a superstar in her own way.

And while she just kept the interaction with her fans brief throughout the three-hour concert, performing live on her own before thousands of people at the age of 17 is really something Sanchez could say she has achieved.

Save for some dead air, it was nice spending Valentine’s Day with a “Filipino pride.”