Call Wednesday’s edition of American Idol the Jessica Sanchez show.
The 16-year-old San Diego native delivered a stirring rendition of Whitney Houston‘s I Will Always Love You, most likely advancing past the top 13 on an evening the Fox staple celebrated its 400th episode.
Among the compliments the judges lauded her with:
Jennifer Lopez called Sanchez’s rendition of the Dolly Parton-written ballad “just amazing … I don’t even know what to say.”
“Jessica, you may be the one,” Steven Tyler told the teen. “You just made 40 million people cry.”
Randy Jackson dubbed the high school student “one of the best talents in the whole country.”
Sanchez’s emotional cover of I Will Always Love You is the third to crop up since the singer’s shocking death at 48 last month, as Jennifer Hudson dazzled at the Grammys, while Glee star Amber Riley wowed audiences with her take later that week.
Wednesday’s show had the men singing songs by the great Stevie Wonder, while the women tackled hits from Houston’s catalogue.
The singers who ranked lowest will be revealed Thursday, at which point the judges will send two more hopefuls packing
American Idol’s eleventh season returns Thursday at 8/7c on Fox.