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'American Idol' sensation Jessica Sanchez spices up Poinsettia Bowl game with live performance Phillip Brents | Fri, Jan 10 2014 04:00 PM

 Eastlake’s own “American Idol” sensation Jessica Sanchez helped kick off the 2013 San Diego Bowl Game Association’s two biggest productions of 2013 by singing the national anthem at the ninth annual San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl game.

Sanchez, originally from Chula Vista drew appreciative applause from the crowd of more than 20,000 at the Dec. 26 event at Qualcomm Stadium. The game between Utah State and 23rd-ranked Northern Illinois was telecast nationally on ESPN.

Sixteen-time Grammy Award nominee Brian McKnight, who has released 15 albums and sold 20 million copies, sang the national anthem at the 36th annual National University Holiday Bowl game, held Monday, Dec. 30.

“We are honored to have such a remarkable talent in Brian McKnight and Jessica Sanchez singing during the pregame festivities,” said Bill Geppert, president of the 2013 bowl games.

Sanchez, who finished second during season 11 of “American Idol’s” nationwide talent search, said she was excited to participate. She is currently signed to 19 Recordings and Interscope Records.

 “I’ve made three appearances for the Chargers before in the stadium, but it’s always exciting to come down and sing — it’s something I look forward to doing,” Sanchez said. “I don’t live in San Diego any more; I live in Los Angeles now because I need to be closer to my work. But I don’t really consider Los Angeles my hometown. I will always consider San Diego to be my hometown.”

Sanchez, the subject of a parade and gala performance at Eastlake High School during her run to the finals of the “American Idol” TV megashow, appeared on “Showtime at the Apollo” as a 10-year-old and later advanced to the wild card round of the first season of “America’s Got Talent” as an 11-year-old.

McKnight, who has received numerous awards and nominations, including Grammy, Soul Train, NCAA Image, MTV Music Video, BET and American Music awards, has had several albums go platinum and triple platinum. He has also served as a red carpet host for TV’s “Extra!”

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