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‘Idol’ Runner-Up Jessica Sanchez: “I Knew That Phillip Was Going To Win”

Lyndsey Parker
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Jessica congratulates Phillip [photo: Fox]

On Wednesday night, many admirers of "American Idol" powerhouse Jessica Sanchez were shocked and outraged by her second-place finish, but when the 16-year-old graciously spoke to the press backstage after the finale, she didn't seem to share her fans' reaction. Jessica was quick to give this year's champion, guitar-strumming Southern crooner Phillip Phillips, props--saying that she was not only perfectly pleased with his victory, but that it came as no surprise to her whatsoever.

[VIDEO: Top 10 Performances of Season 11]

"I really think that Phillip deserved to win, and I'm so happy for him....When they announced that it was Phillip, I was so happy--and I knew it already," she said. "So that's why I gave him a big hug and I was smiling the whole time, because I was like, 'Phillip is gonna win!' I love him so much, and he deserved it. Like, literally, he has worked harder than all of us. We've all worked hard, but he's been having to keep up with his health issues with his kidneys, and I think he's been through a lot more than us, mentally and physically."

Jessica further confessed that she was thrilled to make it just to the top two, since she'd expected to go home before third-place finalist Joshua Ledet. "I told [Phillip] during the top three results show that it was going to be him and Joshua," she said. "And I literally thought that Phillip was going to win the whole thing. He has everything about him. He has this funny side, and his humble side, and he's just an amazing, original artist."

[PHOTOS: "Idol" Season 11 Performances]

When asked if she thought the judges' harsh critiques on Tuesday of her underwhelming coronation song, "Change Nothing," had affected her chances, Jessica shrugged off such speculation and looked ahead. "I kind of agreed with them. We literally had only a day to pick the single. But now that the whole thing is over and I have time to really put myself into my music, it's going to be all me, 100 percent me, so I'm excited," she declared.

Jessica said that she hopes to record more R&B-leaning music with a Beyonce/Rihanna vibe, but apparently she was too shy to ask Rihanna for any advice when RiRi performed on the "Idol" finale this week. "I wanted to! When I was walking down the hallway at the dress rehearsal, she was walking behind me, and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, should I turn around?' I was freaking out!" Jessica laughed.

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