For fans of soul and rock n’ roll, seeing Elise Testone leave “American Idol” Thursday night was a tragedy. She had made it far despite multiple appearances in the bottom three, and also despite being what seemed to be the target at times of overly harsh criticism regarding some of her creative choices.
We were a part of a conference call with Elise on Friday, and she spoke out at length about her songs, the judges, and what she wants to do with her career next.
On who she wants to do a collaboration with in the future – Elise mentioned three names in Stevie Nicks, Brian May, and Steven Tyler. The connection? She worked with all three this season.
On working with children as a vocal coach – “I formed such great bonds with the students I’ve had in Charleston, I’ve had them for three years … the coolest thing is watching someone come in [inside] their shell, but then have them come out for it … I’d definitely like to continue doing that.”
On working with the younger contestants – “They definitely would come to me for advice, which I was excited about. I also came to them … during group songs I felt like a leader, because I’ve done those sort of things before.”
On getting conflicting critiques – “I have to say that Steven did love the performance [Wednesday night], he was just worried about the song choice being right for America. Randy kind of bothered me but whatever, I let it roll off … sometimes it’s nice to see both sides, but I didn’t think I was boxing with the [Jimi Hendrix] song. I thought it came out of me naturally.”
On thinking about the results shows before they tape – “I never really thought about the results show until it hit me about half an hour before the show … yeah, I guess I don’t really prepare myself too much, I just try to go with the flow and stay fun the whole day.”
On if she saw her exit coming – “I was a little bit surprised, just because in my heart I didn’t feel it was time for me to go. But it wasn’t a total shock.”
On the judges being harder on her – “Some [criticism] I thought was really great, but some stuff I didn’t agree with. I think that was what was complicated about it because people are just getting to know me … [and it was hard] that sometimes it felt like they were discrediting me or what I have accomplished.
“I was never trying to be rude … just honest.”
Were you rooting for Elise to win, and with her gone who do you think has the best overall shot at taking home the title?