Season 11 runner-up Jessica Sanchez made a triumphant return to the American Idol stage Thursday night, showcasing her powerful pipes—and some major dance moves!—during a performance of her new single, "Tonight," featuring Ne-Yo.
But backstage after the show, the petite singer, whose first album drops on April 30, was just as eager to dish about her upcoming guest appearance on Glee.
"I'm shooting next month," she revealed. "I'm very excited. It's two episodes for right now. I'm gonna be in the finale! I'm playing a student from a rival school who's supposed to be, like, a legendary diva powerhouse singer, so [I'll be singing] more ballads!"
And which Lima, Ohio, native would she like to duet with?
"I love all of them!" Sanchez gushed. "But as far as meeting people, I really wanna meet Santana (Naya Rivera) because she's really cool. She's got attitude, and I love it! I wanna meet her so bad!"
The 17-year-old performer still can't believe she's getting the opportunity to appear on Ryan Murphy's hit musical series. "I was always, like, acting would be a cool thing to do," she says, "and all of a sudden, Ryan called and was, like, 'Hey, you wanna be on the show?' And I was, like, 'Why not? Let's go! Let's do it!'"
Not bad for a girl who's never professionally acted before. To prepare for the high-profile gig, "I've been taking some acting classes,"
Sanchez said. "And I think I'm ready!" Sanchez's post-Idol success should give hope to season 12's Paul Jolley, who was eliminated this week. (Remember, she was also voted off early in her season, though ultimately the judges opted to save her.)
Like Sanchez, Jolley has big plans for his future—namely, a career in country music—even if the judges (and, apparently, America) never could quite see him in the genre.
And the sooner he can get started working on original music, the better, he figures. "If I let up now, I'd be forgotten," said the Tennessee native. "And I'm definitely not gonna be forgotten!"