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Jessica already a winner Allison K. Sampité | Sat, Mar 31 2012 12:00 PM

Chula Vista born "American Idol" contestant Jessica Sanchez has city officials preparing for potential Idol mania.

Chula Vista Marketing and Communications Manager Anne Steinberger said they are tracking Jessica's progress.

"We are in initial discussions on what kind of homecoming events could occur should she advance to the show’s final three contestants," Steinberger said. "And no matter what the outcome, we look forward to recognizing her achievements."

Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox said Jessica is good news for the city.

“It’s always exciting to be the town where someone who is doing such good things brings such good attention,” she said.

Jessica, 16, is the youngest contestant of nine left this season, including four girls and five guys.

Traditionally on the show, a hometown visit is planned for contestants once they make the top three.

“People in Chula Vista are going to become more attentive to this,” Cox said. “And I love promoting the notion that we have a Chula Vista teen on national TV.”

Cox said this year was the first she’s voted for an “American Idol” contestant.

“I voted once and wasn’t sure if it went through so I voted again,” Cox said.

The Filipino-Mexican singer attended Eastlake Middle School.

Principal Juan Ulloa said Jessica has their support.

“We put an announcement on the (school) marquee to support her as far as the show,” he said.

Ulloa said he has been watching the show specifically because of Jessica.

“I have watched it (“American Idol”) before, but not with the same level of interest,” he said. “I’m watching it now and (I may be biased), but I think she is by far the best singer.”

Although the school has not planned any public celebrations yet, he said he did receive a call from the Mayor’s Office Tuesday asking for contact information in case Jessica makes the top three.

“I think it’s exciting for the students and staff,” Ulloa said. “I think it’s great to have one of our own be so successful and I hope she wins it.”

Eastlake Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing Co. owner Christian Herrera said he is also familiar with Jessica’s hometown roots.

“I became aware of her at the beginning of the season from my daughter,” he said.

Herrera said that he is open to having “American Idol” viewing parties at the restaurant/bar pending contact and involvement with family members.

“If I had some connection I’d be totally open to cater to the crowd and help grow viewership,” he said.

Oggi’s became the main hub for friends and family to gather to watch Chula Vista’s Parkview Little League games through the World Series in 2009.

Since making the top 10, Jessica has secured a slot on the “American Idol” tour.

She has more than 1,800 “likes” on her Facebook page and nearly 81,000 followers on Twitter.

Before trying out for the show’s 11th season on the USS Midway, Jessica appeared on the TV show “America’s Got Talent” when she was just 11 years old.

Jessica has revealed to media sources that she grew up listening to Whitney Houston and Celine Dion, two women with powerhouse voices, and that she also looks up to Beyoncé and Mariah Carey as musical influences.

“She is making us all so proud,” Cox said of Jessica.

Cox said regardless of the end result, she can be proud of her accomplishments thus far.

“I think at his point she’s already a winner,” she said.

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