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Those crazy kids have really done it this time! Sixteen-year-old Jessica Sanchez covered the late Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You” during tonight’s American Idol “guys vs. girls” performance round. (EW’s full recap is here.)

With a little help from a local smoke monster and fingers that fluttered ever so gently along with her vibrato, Jessica “just made 40 million people cry,” according to judge Steven Tyler. That is actually nowhere near the number of people who watch this show, but I love his confidence! Good looking out. Watch Jessica here:

“Not only are you one of the best singers tonight — I think you’re one of the best singers in the whole competition!” raved Randy Jackson, who really never takes his compliments quite far enough. Yo, Dawg, I’d say she’s gotta be better than at least 40 million people on top of those other 12 contestants if she wants to take on this Whitney song! The beaded Betty Boop pin on your jacket (just under your fur collar — yes, that one) wants you to dream bigger for these kids, Randy!

Would you have given Jessica a standing O for this? Did the girls outsing the guys tonight?

Stay tuned for my full recap overnight!

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Ask Annie anything about ‘Idol’ (or whatever) in the video player below. To see her answers to previous questions, click on the text links below the picture.

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