'American Idol' Castoff Elise Testone Talks Elimination, Summer Tour
The South Carolina rocker dreams of another duet with season-11 heartthrob, Phillip Phillips.
Fans of American Idol's Elise Testone, take heart: the freshly booted finalist promises to rock you all summer on the just-announced season-11 tour.
The South Carolina soul sister told reporters Friday that she's looking forward to fully rocking out on stage, with “whole songs, and not just an edited version of the song. I shine best when it’s real and I have time to get into it.”
Testone, who finished sixth place after performing Jimi Hendrix’s “Bold As Love” and Queen’s “I Want It All,” has some big plans for the tour -- and they include Phillip Phillips.
“I’m closest with Phillip,” she said, adding that she would love a repeat of her duets with the Georgia cutie. “I still haven’t seen that song list but I am going to put in a strong request for it.”
Talking via phone conference, Testone, 29 said she was a little surprised by her elimination on Thursday, but had a feeling the end was near following what mentor Jimmy Iovine described as a “permanent vacation home” in the bottom three stools of doom for weeks.
“It wasn’t a total shock,” she said. “When you are in the bottom three that many times, it is inevitable that it would happen some time, but I guess I just felt like a fighter and I was going to push through.”
When asked if song choice did her in, Testone was clear in her convictions.
“I don’t agree because those were the best choices for me, and I felt that and I believed in it,” she said, revealing her now-thwarted plan to peform Jessie J's "Who You Are" and Joe Cocker's version of "A Little Help From My Friends," for next week's British theme.
When asked if age was a factor in not connecting with the public (Erika Van Pelt had joked with Testone that they were the “old girls” in the race), Testone demurred.
"A huge majority of voting comes from Middle America so if I can’t win them over, it’s not going to happen," she said. "I felt like I was honest and sang with my heart and passion and that’s the best I can do."
As for the show's younger viewers, Testone said: “I feel like I still connect with them, as a teacher I had a lot of students and I felt probably closer to them than people my own age, but I don’t know if they saw that."
Testone also revealed that she'd auditioned for the show once in the past.
“That didn’t work out,” she said. “I always thought that I wouldn’t be ready for the responsibility of the fame until I was older and learned those life lessons, you know, just knew who I was before throwing myself into the hands of others."
She added that she thought judges' critiques weren’t always spot on, and was frustrated about their comments tainting public perception.
“People are getting to know me, and this is their first impression of me, and I felt like sometimes criticism didn’t line up or it was discrediting to the things I had achieved or worked hard to achieve,” she said. “I believe in certain things and I don’t want to keep my mouth shut and smile.”
When Randy Jackson lambasted Testone’s phrasing of Hendrix’s “Bold As Love” as “boxing with the song,” Testone was frustrated.
“Randy kind of bothered me .. I didn’t feel like I was boxing with the song,” she said. “The song flew out of me naturally and I was painting the picture and feeling the lyrics.”
She is less annoyed with Jennifer Lopez, who she said was "fighting for me," As for Steven Tyler, who she said she would love to have as a duet partner on her debut CD (other artists on her wish list: Stevie Nicks, who already put it out there that she would want to work with Testone, and Queen guitarist Brian May).
After the summer, "top 10" tour, Testone is focused on recording an album (dream duet parters: Steven Tyler, Stevie Nicks) and utilizing her bandmates, along with some shows and a return to teaching voice lessons -- either with her own studio or one-on-one.
"I’ve been waiting my whole life to release an album so it’s not going to be a rush ... I’m going to take my time and experience it,” she added.