Thousands welcome Sanchez in hometown visit

Posted at 05/13/2012 1:31 PM | Updated as of 05/15/2012 9:46 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Jessica Sanchez, the Filipino-Mexican-American finalist on “American Idol,” returned to Chula Vista in San Diego on Saturday for her hometown visit.

The event was part of her celebration after making it to the Final 3 of the popular US talent search.

Sanchez was welcomed by thousands of supporters as she rode a procession with color guards and a marching band into Eastlake High School’s stadium.

“I feel amazing. I’m so happy to represent Chula Vista,” she said upon making her way to the stadium’s stage.

Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox also declared May 12 as "Jessica Sanchez Day."

The 16-year-old singer admitted she missed all the people in her hometown as she has been spending most of her time in Los Angeles because of her “Idol” stint.

"It was the people, I missed the people so much. I love you guys, thank you for all the support," she said.

Sanchez sang three songs during her first stop – “Try A Little Tenderness,” “Stuttering” and “I Will Always Love You.”

The Whitney Houston song was supposed to be her last number but her fans asked for more. She agreed to do an encore and performed “Proud Mary” while her mom, her dad and two little brothers were standing behind her on stage.

After her Eastlake High School visit, Sanchez headed to USS Midway Museum to continue her homecoming celebration.

There she sang the U.S. national anthem and “Try A Little Tenderness.”

She also asked her dad, who is set to be deployed to Singapore, to come up with her on stage while she dedicated “Dance With My Father” to him.

After her hometown visit, it will now be up to Sanchez to seal her spot in the “Idol” Top 2.

On Wednesday (Thursday morning in Manila), Sanchez, Joshua Ledet and Phillip Phillips will be performing three songs – judges’ choice, Jimmy Iovine’s choice and their own choice.

The two finalists who will be moving on to the finale will be announced on Thursday (Friday morning in Manila).