'American Idol': Elise Testone's exit interview
Elise Testone, the 28-year-old rock and soul crooner from South Carolina, had mixed feelings about being eliminated Thursday night. On the one hand, she told EW that she was surprised to be sent home after her rendition of The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “Bold as Love.” “I felt completely successful [with] that performance in every aspect,” said Testone, “[including] the outfit, the singing, and having my bandmate onstage with me.”
On the other hand, Testone wasn’t about to dwell on her elimination. “I accepted what happened to me as soon as it happened,” she said. “I just thought, ‘What’s next? What am I going to do now?'” To hear about Testone’s plans for the future, check out EW’s video exit Q&A with the singer below.
As for the results show itself, the most memorable moment actually occurred during a commercial break. Following Katy Perry’s pretaped performance of “Song I’d Rather Not Recall,” Cory the Audience Warm-Up Guy brought a tween girl named Nadine onstage to receive a hug from her favorite contestant, Phillip Phillips. That was supposed to be the end of Nadine’s moment in the spotlight. Instead, Nadine also hugged Skylar, who was standing beside Phillip. Then, with Cory’s encouragement, Nadine hugged Debbie the Stage Manager. Then she hugged Elise, Hollie, Debbie again, Joshua, Jessica, Tony the Stagehand (because it was his birthday), Nigel Lythgoe, Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, Aaron the Judges’ Bodyguard, and (with 15 seconds left until the show was back on the air) Ryan Seacrest.
That’s a total of 15 hugs, and Nadine was thrilled about each and every one. You couldn’t help but feel happy for the young woman and her unexpected hugathon.
A few other observations:
1. A single audience member booed when Seacrest revealed that the Top 6 had visited the TMZ office.
2. In terms of enthusiasm, Joshua’s courtesy applause for Stefano’s performance was the polar opposite of Brendan Fraser’s Golden Globes clap.
3. Rather than outright telling the audience that Katy Perry had already taped her performance, Cory and Debbie toyed with us. “Cory, do you want to give them the news?” said Debbie. Cory never really did. So when it was time for Perry’s number, all the 12-year-old girls down on the floor started jumping up and down, only to have their little hearts broken a few seconds later when the video clip started to play.
4. The final commercial break was something to behold. It was down to Hollie and Elise. As soon as the break started, a clearly emotional Hollie dropped her head into her hands. Joshua walked over to hug Hollie, while Elise joined Phillip, Jessica, and Skylar on the couch. About a minute later, Joshua was still consoling Hollie — I couldn’t tell if she had tears in her eyes or not. Eventually, Jessica and Skylar walked over to comfort Hollie as well.
For the rest of the commercial break, there was this clear division: Hollie, Joshua, Jessica, and Skylar in one huddle on the stage, while Elise and Phillip stayed sitting on the couch. Another way to look at it: Those under the legal drinking age were standing together on the stage, while those of legal drinking age were hanging out on the couch. Did it mean anything? Probably not. Nevertheless, it was interesting to witness those two age-segregated groups materialize in front of my eyes.
Check out our exit Q&A — in which Elise discusses her connection with the judges and why she has no regrets about singing Jimi Hendrix this week — below: