Jessica Sanchez may have fell runner-up to Phillip Phillips Wednesday night on the American Idol finale, but the 16-year-old showed no signs of defeat or sadness as confetti rained over her competitor. The young Sanchez is confident in her stellar vocal ability, and told ET after the show that she can't wait to get the show on the road.
"I am so ready!" Sanchez said with a wide smile when asked about her future. "Now that I'm free and I can be myself, make my music, and give what I want to my fans, I'm happy."
Although she had just lost the competition, Sanchez was rather upbeat and was happy to be finished with the show. "I'm not disappointed at all. I'm actually really relieved that the competition is over," she said. "Phillip won and I'm happy for him. I'm actually really happy for him because he really fought through this whole competition. He has really bad health problems...I'm so happy that he won. He deserved it."
Phillips, who struggled with health issues related to his kidneys for the duration of the season, said that winning American Idol's eleventh season still hadn't quite yet sunk in for him. He expressed gratitude to the fans that voted for him and hopes that they will continue to support him as he segues into the music industry. "I got some music that I'm ready to put out [and] hopefully [my fans] can connect with it," he said.
Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M record label and mentor on the show this season, said that, in his opinion, both finalists won in their own right. "They really both won because they're both different," he said. "They got all this exposure and they have all this talent...Now's the time to just go to work--then we'll find out who won."
Iovine's insight is backed up by the fact that just as many runners-up or Top 10 contestants have had successful careers as Idol winners like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Jordin Sparks. Grammy-winner Jennifer Hudson finished in seventh place and Chris Daughtry finished in fourth place, to name a few of the non-winning Idol success stories.
Judge Steven Tyler said that he was satisfied with the result of the finale and predicted that Phillips would win. "I was hoping that America would pick the oddball, the wildcard, the Rolling Stones, the band that nobody would think would," he said.
Check out the full backstage video above to hear Tyler talk about his future plans as a judge on American Idol.