'American Idol' recap: Elise Testone sadly departs
Well, fellow "American Idol" watchers, I am a little sad. I realize Elise Testone might not have been among everyone's favorite contestants – clearly she wasn't, since she was voted off Thursday night -- but she had definitely grown into one of mine.
In this week's "Idol"/"Voice" rankings, where her performance of Queen's "I Want It All" slid into my list at No. 3, I compared the way Testone's voice leaps around the notes to the skipping of stones in the water, making graceful melodic ripples. And now that she's been told to pack up her groovy clothes and go home, my heart has sunk like a … oh, you know.
But of course there's no way we couldn't have seen this coming (yes, yes, Haley Reinhart, I know). Testone had been in the bottom three so many times mentor Jimmy Iovine joked that she'd built a vacation home there. Plus, the judges were hot and cold on her, and even Iovine sometimes piled on.
Still, after Ryan Seacrest delivered the bad news to Testone, did he have to rub it in by suggesting it might be time to consider Stevie Nicks' offer to make her one of her back-up singers? That seemed gratuitous. Surely Testone can carve out a successful career as a solo artist. If nothing else, Stefano Langone's performance of his (long, busy) song "I'm on a Roll" on Thursday's show proves you don't have to win the competition to get a record contract and to take advantage of the "Idol" platform. Langone came in seventh last year; Testone just finished sixth. Nervous giggling aside, she may yet get the last laugh.
After Langone, Katy Perry and the online-contest-winning Queen Extravaganza had each performed, Phillips, along with Jessica Sanchez and Joshua Ledet were sitting pretty in the top three, leaving Skylar Laine, Hollie Cavanagh and Testone at the bottom. Seacrest quickly delivered Laine, whom the judges had lavishly praised Wednesday, to safety.
That left Cavanagh and Testone awaiting news of their fate. Had Cavanagh's standing-O-earning "The Climb" saved her from her so-so "Save Me" and the constant criticism from the judges that she overthinks her performances? Or was it, as Iovine had wondered, "too little too late"? Had Testone's not-great decision to perform Jimi Hendrix's "Bold as Love" proven too bold -- or too bad -- for "Idol" voters?
"The person who leaves the competition tonight is … Elise," Seacrest said.
But before she left, she picked up the "Idol" mic one last time and made Jennifer Lopez do a crazy dance and got Steven Tyler singing with her trademark take on Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" -- going out like a pro, and earning a whole lotta love from her fans. Like me.
Are you sad to see Testone go home?
Each week our experts and readers rank the best of the best between the two blockbuster singing competitions. Last week, "American Idol's" Phillip Phillips came out on top. Who will be the favorite this week? Use the poll below to vote. Check out last week's performances and see what our judges had to say at latimes.com/idol-voice.
-- Amy Reiter
Photo: Elise Testone performs on "American Idol." Credit: Michael Becker / Fox.