'American Idol': Jessica Sanchez felt like Whitney Houston 'was still there with us'

jessica-sanchez-idol-whitney.jpgAlthough some of the "American Idol" Top 13 didn't grow up listening to Whitney Houston, overall the group of girls managed to do justice to the singer's catalog of hits on their first finalist performance night.

Jessica Sanchez, who slayed her rendition of "I Will Always Love You," tells Zap2it that while she was performing, she felt like Houston was there in spirit.

"She's gone, but I felt like when I was singing that she was still there with us -- just the life in the song and everything," Sanchez says. "I grew up listening to her, and she's one of the people who just taught me how to sing."

The judges -- and the audience -- loved Sanchez's interpretation of the song, and although the 16-year-old singer is happy about the reaction to her performance, she says that she's starting to get nervous about all the pressure that comes from getting rave reviews every week.

"We're all competing for the same thing, but I think it's more of us competing with ourselves. We always have to top our performance every single week," she says of the constantly raising bar for performances.

She continues: "That's kind of hard for me because I've been getting a standing ovation constantly! I mean, I'm not trying to sound big-headed or anything, but I'm really trying to fight for that every week, and I'm really trying to put my heart and soul into every performance."
Photo/Video credit: FOX