Fil Ams To Save Jessica Sanchez

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (jGLi) – She can thank Filipinos outside the United States for their prayers. But she should thank Filipinos in America for their votes.

During the last three Wednesday nights, ever since Jessica Sanchez was “saved” by American Idol judges Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson after being nearly eliminated for having the fewest number of votes from the audience, some Filipino Americans, who normally do not watch, this search for a singing superstar, have suddenly warmed up to this top-rated prime-time TV talent contest every Wednesday night.

And when the program is over, that’s the only time that these Fil Ams would start to pull up their sleeves and let their fingers do the work.

Depending on what is convenient for viewers, they can vote by using their landline/cell phones, by dialing a toll free number that would only be made known during the program, or AT &T Text voting thru SMS (short messaging service) text or online voting by accessing their respective Facebook accounts.

They can only do the voting two hours after the American Idol was shown within the showing’s time zone.

They can vote as many times as they want, using toll-free voting and AT & T text voting but they will be limited to 50 votes when voting online.

Voting is a little bit tricky. If someone is voting by landline/cell phone, his area code should match the time zone and area code where the American Idol TV program was shown.


For instance, if someone is in Chicago, Illinois, he can only call a certain toll free number to dial if the area code of the phone number belongs to Chicago area. This will disallow the vote of a caller from a different time zone who votes shortly after the American Idol was shown in the Chicago area.

This means that callers from San Francisco, California, Canada or the Philippines will not be able to vote for two hours shortly after the Idol program was shown in Chicago area.

Two of my friends, Marlon L. Pecson of Chicago and Fernando “Ronnie” M. Estrada of San Jose, California, would drop everything they are doing shortly before the end of the program to prep themselves to vote.

They would remind me or sometimes I would remind them to vote. Usually, I vote 50 times online and 100 times by landline. Marlon and Ronnie would vote more than I do as they have more fun maximizing their votes during the two-hour window that would allow them to vote.

If only about 10,000 out of the estimated 4 million Filipinos and Filipino Americans in the U.S. would vote the same way that we do, it should generate at least 1.5-million votes. If there are 100,000, who would vote, there should be around 15 million votes that could make a dent, if not a difference, from the more than 50-million votes that turn up every Wednesday night.


I am sure the relatives of Jessica, if they do the voting by themselves, would not be able to generate the massive number of votes needed to be safe from elimination.

Even a start-up Jessica Sanchez Fans Club would struggle to deliver the respectable votes needed to get her up to the higher level.

With the remaining contestants whittled down to final four – Jessica Sanchez, 16, of San Diego, California; Hollie Cavanagh, 18, McKinney, Texas; Joshua Ledet, 19, Westlake, Louisiana; and Phillip Phillips, 21, Leesburg, Georgia – there is clarion call for Filipino Americans to push the envelope, by making their sentiments felt by voting for Jessica during the next couple or so Wednesday nights.

I am rooting for Jessica Sanchez, the eldest of three siblings, not only because she is a daughter of Filipino American mother Editha Sanchez of Bataan province in the Philippines and a Mexican American father Gilbert Sanchez but because she is gifted with a natural talent of a great singer.

I first came to notice her talent when I first heard Jessica interpret Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” hitting a high note that Season 3 American Idol finalist Jennifer Hudson could not reach when Ms. Hudson sang the same song as tribute to Houston during the Grammy Awards ceremony last February.

Since then, I was hooked on the Jessica Sanchez Fans Club phone bank!

But whatever happens at the finals, win or loss, Filipinos will always love the unassuming Jessica Sanchez. (

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