'American Idol' ousts Elise Testone and determines Top 5 finalists
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/27/2012
American Idol ousted Elise Testone and determined its Top 5 eleventh-season finalists during Thursday night's live results show broadcast on Fox.
Testone, a 28-year-old from Charleston, SC, became the eighth finalist sent home from American Idol's eleventh season after she received the fewest home viewer votes following Wednesday night's performance show, which featured the Top 6 finalists each performing two songs, with the first being a Queen hit and the second being any song of their choice.
"American Idol means living out my dreams. My favorite part about my journey is my connections with the other contestants. These are people I may have never met, but I'm so glad I did. I want to be an inspiration for people. That is what it's all about. That's why they call it American Idol," Testone said following her ouster.
Prior to Testone's ouster, Skylar Laine, an 18-year-old from Brandon, MS, and Hollie Cavanagh, an 18-year-old from McKinney, TX, were the other finalists still in danger of elimination and revealed by American Idol host Ryan Seacrest to be the other two members of this week's bottom three vote-getters.
Testone -- who was one of the 10 finalists voted into the season's Top 13 by home viewers -- had received very positive reviews from Idol judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson following her performances of "I Want It All" by Queen on Wednesday's performance show.
"Elise, you found your stride. See, that's what we've been waiting for you to do with the just right song. You sang that like the classical song it was -- if not even better tonight. I really enjoyed that. That was over the top. It was great," Tyler told her.
"To me, that was you in your element. It was natural, it was sexy, it had everything. You look great, you sounded great. That whole thing just came together this week. You asked me about that last week, and I said, 'Just find the right song and you'll murder it,' and that's what you did," Lopez explained.
"Guys, wow, what a night so far. Who would've thunk it... That was unbelievable as well. They hit on something very important. That style of song was so right for you... Those bluesy changes that allow you to do [your] thing in the middle, it allows you enough time to do your runs and really get into it because you love the sound of the words and the whole thing. To me, that was one of your best performances to date," Jackson said.
While the judges were quick to admit they loved Testone's first song, her subsequent performance of Jimi Hendrix's "Bold as Love" left the judges disagreeing over whether the song was really a good fit for her and offering very mixed criticism. Mentor and producer Jimmy Iovine had even commented during tonight's Idol broadcast that Testone's song selections were very poor when taking into account her vocal ability and potential in the competition.
"I love the Janis Joplin about you -- always have -- and you touched my heart with a Jimi Hendrix song like that because I am a child of the 70s. But you gotta remember, you gotta do songs that people know. You just gotta do that. You can't pick your cherries with your back to the tree. You gotta remember, you gotta remember, you gotta sing a familiar song. But I loved it nonetheless," Tyler explained.
"I know what Steven's saying, but I just feel like you slayed that song so hard that it doesn't even matter! (Laughs) I just feel like the things that you do -- and now even your interpretation is getting better every single time. I feel you listening to how we're trying to help you, and I just feel like you're one of the best singers in this competition," Lopez told her.
"I'm a huge Hendrix fan. I'm a huge Elise fan. For me, it wasn't the right song for you. It wasn't the right song for this time in the competition. I feel you attacked the song, and once again, I feel like sometimes you get into it with these really simple songs," Jackson said.
"Remember, Hendrix was singing and playing, but he sung about a 25th of what you just sang in a very simple song. I did not love that. Once again, you were boxing with the song. It was so much information [with] the song choice. Maybe if it was sung more simple, people would have gotten it."
"No, she made it exciting! She made it exciting! He didn't like it, I did, and everyone else did too," Lopez insisted.