Jessica Sanchez’s age was really starting to work against her in the first round of ‘American Idol.’ She’s got a full, bluesy voice, but she doesn’t have the life experience to back up a blues performance. What she does have is the sincerity and talent to, as Jennifer Lopez put it, “captivate the whole audience,” which is what she did in the second round.

Sanchez chose Tina Turner’s legendary anthem ‘Proud Mary’ as her first round ’60s pick. That Sanchez voice we all look forward to hearing every week did her a solid and sold the song for her. The only reason the suburban 16 year old can even begin to hit a blues song out of the park is because she’s got the voice of a seasoned veteran and she knows how to use it. She showed that knowledge with her round two pick of Joe Cocker’s ‘You Are So Beautiful,’ which was so beautiful.

After round one, J. Lo gushed about how grown up Sanchez looks and sounds. She said, “I always forget you’re 16.” She also told Sanchez that she really showed that soul and R & B is really where she belongs. Steven Tyler agreed with Lopez’s opinion of her first performance. He told Sanchez he could hear the blues coming out of her. “How many times can you say ‘rollin’’ and it still sounds great? That’s the magic,” he said.

Randy Jackson disagreed with both of them in round one. He felt the performance was “only OK It was barely OK for me.” He said that Sanchez had taken on the biggest dragon of the night since it’s  so hard to do Tina Turner. He did agree that her voice is what pulled it out for him, but he said that she was always going to pale in comparison to a classic Tina Turner performance. Lopez argued that you just can’t compare a 16 year old to Tina Turner, it’s not fair.

Sanchez redeemed herself with Jackson in round two with her “unbelievable” level of talent. He confirmed that her second round performance propelled her to the top of the leader board. Jackson said what we were all thinking: “You are off to the races.”

Watch Jessica Sanchez Perform ‘Proud Mary’

Watch Jessica Sanchez Perform ‘You Are So Beautiful’

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