Millions of people are getting to know Chula Vista resident Jessica Sanchez a little more each week as she fights for the title of American Idol.
The 16-year-old is the youngest contestant and one of six left of two males and four females.
Jessica has lived mostly in an area called Paradise Hills in San Diego as well as in Chula Vista.
One of her relatives, who has been close to Jessica her whole life, said the teen has been singing since she was a toddler.
“I remember Jessica singing when she was one,” she said. “She was just so adorable. She was always entertaining the family at get-togethers.”
Executives with the show have asked family not to speak with the media about Jessica.
Jessica has a large extended family that comes from Chula Vista, San Diego, Temecula and the Philippines. When Jessica’s relative found out that she was going to try out for “American Idol” last July on San Diego’s USS Midway, her reaction was not one of surprise.
“She could have tried out five years ago,” she said.
Although Jessica was too young to try out prior to this season, it didn’t stop her from belting her favorite artist’s hits around the house.
One example is “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston.
“That’s Jessica’s signature song,” said the relative. “She’s always loved that song.”
Jessica received a standing ovation from the show’s three judges with her rendition last month and continues to receive tons of support from her more than 225,000 followers on Twitter (as of Tuesday).
“When she was 7 she entered her first karaoke contest in National City and from there she continued singing … she was a hit everywhere she went,” her relative said. “She was always ready to entertain you.”
One bit of information fans may not know about Jessica is her demeanor while out of the limelight, a family member said.
“She appears like a powerhouse on stage but when she doesn’t have that mic in her hand, she’s super shy and quiet.
She is really very modest about her talent. She will always do whatever it takes to take it to the next level.”
Jessica has a motto that echoes that exact sentiment: Work hard. Stay humble.