Jessica Sanchez, a 16-year-old “American Idol” contestant, shocked judges and the show’s audience with a stirring rendition of Whitney Houston’s classic “I Will Alaways Love You.” It was pitch perfect and she didn’t miss note.
The performance was gutsy in more ways than none. Not only was Houston’s a singular talent with a soaring vocal range, the song is one of the most difficult to sing in popular music.
Judge Randy Jackson was nearly knocked out of his seat, as the judges and audience rose to their feet in wild cheers. “Let me just say this… give it all to her,” Jackson said.
“Let me tell you something, man, this is one of the hardest songs in the world to sing,” he said. “You are not only the best vocal of the night, I think you’re one of the best singers in this whole competition. Oh my God!”
“America, this is one of the best talents in the whole country,” he added. For once, Jackson’s wasn’t exaggerating.
Jennifer Lopez was left almost speechless. “Just, just amazing,” she said.
“Jessica, you may be the one. You just made 40 million people cry,” added judge Steven Tyler.
Female contestants on the show were required to choose from Houston’s songbook. The men had to choose from Steve Wonder’s. Both have unique and distinctive voices.
“I Will Always Love You” became Houston’s signature song after she appeared in the 1992 film “The Bodyguard,” with Kevin Costner. Country star Dolly Parton originally wrote the song, but Houston made it a classic. It was played at her funeral last month.
Check out the performance below: