'American Idol' runner-up: 'I'm kind of relieved the show is over'
Published May 24 2012, 07:19 BST | By Kate Goodacre
Warning: American Idol
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hopeful Jessica Sanchez
has spoken for the first time since finishing in second place on the programme.
The 16-year-old, who was Digital Spy readers' favourite in exit polls every week for the duration of the live shows
, lost out to Phillip Phillips in Wednesday evening's final (May 23).
Sanchez told reporters at a post-show press conference that she felt "kind of relieved that this whole thing is over", but added that she intends to go into her future career with a clear outlook.
"Now that I have time to put myself into my music, it's going to be all me - 100% me," she explained.
Sanchez also offered her congratulations to Phillips, saying that she was confident he would win the competition as early as last week's semi-final stage.
"I told him he was gonna win during the Top 3 results show
... he has worked harder than all of us. He's been having to keep up with his health issues with his kidneys
," she said.
"He's been through it all a lot more than us mentally and physically... I made [the] Top 2 and it's such a big accomplishment."American Idol will return in 2013 on Fox.