You sensed this might happen, and sure enough Jessica Sanchez' rendition of the Whitney Houston classic 'I Will Always Love You' got judges tongues wagging and a huge response from an emotional crowd at the American Idol live show last night. Whoever it had been to sing a version of the 'Bodyguard' hit surely was going to have a leg up, the song's power and poignancy heightened ever more in the wake of Houston's tragic demise before the Grammy Awards last month, but in fairness to Sanchez she brought more than enough chutzpah to the performance to at least partly warrant the praise of the judges.
Fox News reports that the 16 year-old earned a standing ovation from all in attendance, and caused Randy Jackson to comment "You not only are the best vocal of the night, I think you are one of the best singers in the competition. This is what it's really all about, finding the best talent in America-and America, this is one of the best talents in the whole country." Jennifer Lopez meanwhile was close to tears, leaving Steven Tyler to add "Jessica, you may be the one. You just made 40 million people cry."
This week's round had been given extra passion with the news that contestants would be covering Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston songs, which put a huge amount of pressure on the girls in particular in light of recent events. Most of them battled admirably, though Elise Testone struggled through 'I'm Your Baby Tonight' and Shannon Migrane also looking nervous throughout her rendition of 'I Have Nothing.'