Eleven months after finishing as the runner-up on the eleventh season of "American Idol," Jessica Sanchez has watched her debut album, "Me, You & the Music," score a No. 26 debut on the Billboard 200 chart, with 14,000 copies sold in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The album arrives after months of recording, whittling down a final track list and slowly rolling out her debut to the world -- a process that was still less nerve-racking than performing live each week in front of millions of viewers.
"'Idol' was more of a competition, and that was more of a platform that I wanted to get a hold of and get on top of," Sanchez told Billboard when she stopped by for an on-camera chat last week. "And I finally got that opportunity, and now it's more like, I just gotta show and prove myself to everybody that I'm not just the 'balladeer.' I like to do this kind of stuff. And that's easy for me, because I'm pretty fierce at this stuff."
Sanchez's current single, "Tonight" featuring Ne-Yo, is certainly helping the 17-year-old break down that "balladeer" stigma -- the uptempo track allows Ne-Yo to occupy the dance-commander role he mastered on songs like "Closer" and "Let's Go." The R&B singer also penned another track on "Me, You & the Music" -- much to Sanchez's surprise.
"When I got [to the studio], he actually handed me a piece of paper of lyrics to a completely different song," Sanchez says of Ne-Yo. "He was like, 'I wrote this 40 minutes before you got here, and it's called "Plastic Roses."' And I said, 'Oh my gosh!' And that song's on the album now, and... it's a very touching, beautiful ballad song. He's just amazing."
For more with Sanchez, including her thoughts on her "Glee" debut, watch the video interview above, and check out the official clip for "Tonight," which has earned 3.7 million YouTube views: