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Jessica Sanchez Brings 'A Little Tenderness' To 'American Idol' (VIDEO)

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After almost getting eliminated last week on 'American Idol', Jessica Sanchez returned to the competition stronger than ever last night.

For "Now and Then" night, the seven remaining contestants were asked to sing two songs each, and while Jessica's first song ("Fallin'" by Alicia Keys) left some to be desired, her performance of Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness” brought the house down.

"Good God Almighty! Bless my soul. You've done it again!" judge Steven Tyler said about the powerful performance. "It's all about stepping out and winning people's hearts."

Judge Jennifer Lopez seemed to like that Jessica, who's normally very reserved and quiet, was feisty on stage during the performance. “With this performance we got a little bit of your alter ego," Lopez said. But Lopez, who saved Jessica from elimination on last week's show, also told the 16-year-old singer that it's time to challenge herself. "We've got to really start pushing your performances," she said. "Just keep taking it a little bit further."

Randy Jackson agreed with Jennifer. "Where you should grow now is really in connecting with the emotion in the lyric," he said. "Everything you sing is going to be great. It's about growing now."

Do you think Jessica did enough to stay in the competition? Should she show more emotion during her performances? Let us know in the comments!

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Filed by Lee Hernandez