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Fil-Am Jessica makes it to Idol’s Top 4; finals May 23

LOS ANGELES, California—Filipino-Mexican Jessica Sanchez has moved one more step closer to clinching the “American Idol” season 11 title as she made it to the top four of the popular reality television singing competition.

The Filipino-American fans of Sanchez posted comments on social media networks expressing excitement after the 16-year-old high school student from San Diego, California, was declared safe during the show’s latest elimination on Thursday (Friday in Manila).

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The Filipino bet earlier thanked fans on Twitter for voting for her.

Eighteen-year-old Mississippi country rocker Skylar Laine took a bow, leaving the competition to Sanchez and three other finalists—-20-year-old gospel singer Joshua Ledet of Louisiana, 21-year-old pawn-shop worker Phillip Phillips of Georgia and 18-year-old student Hollie Cavanagh from Texas.

Cavanagh earlier joined Laine in the bottom two.

Laine left the show with a rousing performance of country singer Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder and Lead.”

Laine, who idolizes Lambert and aspires to be a country star herself, sang the song as Cavanagh wiped away tears knowing it was her close friend’s final number.

Mentor Jimmy Iovine said he hoped Laine would remain in the contest because “she suits up and shows up every night.” But his hopes were dashed by audience voters who choose the contestants who will remain.

Iovine had mixed comments on Sanchez’s performance the other day, describing her rendition of Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful” as “just that—beautiful” but expressing dissatisfaction with her interpretation of Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary.”

Judge Jennifer Lopez thought Sanchez just “sang beautifully” the other day, but said her sophisticated look might turn off some fans.

Contestants sang hits from the 1960s, followed by songs by British artists on performance day, and “Idol” got a visit from one of its most famous past winners, country songstress Carrie Underwood, in the elimination episode.

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Now a top country star, Underwood performed the title track from her album “Blown Away,” which was released earlier this week. British rock band Coldplay sang their song “Paradise,” and came back later in the show for an encore performance.

“Idol,” which first aired in 2002, has launched the careers of Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia Barrino, Jennifer Hudson, Chris Daughtry, Adam Lambert and David Cook, among others. The show continues to be the most watched reality TV show in America, although it has received stiff competition this year from “The Voice,” also a singing competition.

Audiences vote for their favorite performers by phone and text message each week as contestants are challenged by a variety of musical styles. The winning contestant receives a recording contract.

The competition’s season finale is scheduled to take place on May 23 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. With wire reports

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