Jessica Sanchez proved she is bigger than "American Idol" last night (VIDEO)

American Idol is down to its last four contestants and though the competition is getting increasingly harder, 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez's performances seem to only be getting better. Last night kicked off "California Dreamin'" and "favorite song" week on the show and Sanchez brought her A-game, performing two of her best songs yet.  

She first took the stage to sing Etta James' "Steal Away" and her naturally growly voice perfectly encompassed the bluesy feel of the song--and also caught the attention of the judges.

"How old where you when you were growling? Where you like five years old?" asked Jennifer Lopez, laughing. She called Sanchez's rendition of the song "one of the best I've seen in such a long time."


Randy Jackson agreed, stating, "I loved the whole vibe of that. Your vocals are ridiculous, you can sing anything, that girl can sing the phonebook."

But it turns out that that was just Sanchez's warm-up performance. In round two, the half-Mexican singer took on Jennifer Hudson's "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" from the Dreamgirls soundtrack and boy, did she deliver. Her soulful and super emotional rendition of the song was INCREDIBLE, blowing the audience away and brining all three judges to a standing ovation.

"Amazing, just over-the-top," said Steven Tyler. He said her performance made "everyone forget where they are and what they're doing." Lopez also called it a "real moment."

Read more ¿Qué más?: Jessica Sanchez captures audience with two stunning performances on 'American Idol'

But perhaps the most impressed was Jackson, who, out of the three judges, has been the most critical of Sanchez in the past. "This is one of the hardest songs in the world to sing and you know what, you got up there and slayed, it" he said. "I don't know where you find the experience and the vocal chops but dude, you are phenomenal."

Want to find other Latin pop culture fans? Like us on Facebook!

Finally, all three judges are giving her the credit she deserves! For such a young girl, Sanchez sings with so much maturity, flair, and emotion that it's hard to believe she's really only 16. It sounds like she's been singing professionally for years! Both of these performances, particularly her rendition of Hudson's song, were mind-blowing and definitely two of my all-time favorite Jessica Sanchez moments.

Hopefully, all of the praise and love from the judges (and the audience!) will be enough to convince America to vote her through to the final three. Anything less--particularly after her stellar show of impressive talent last night--would be a disappointment to the show, her fans, and honestly, the entire music industry, which could definitely use a re-introduction to real, powerhouse female vocalists.     

 What did you think of Sanchez's performances? Tell us in the comments below! 

Image via FOX

Topics: famous latinos  jennifer lopez  celebs  american idol