After 58 million "American Idol" votes--almost 10 million more votes than the same time last season--were tallied this week, Elise Testone finally went home in sixth place this Thursday night. This was hardly as shocking as last week's elimination of Colton Dixon, or the near-elimination of Jessica Sanchez the week before, especially considering that Elise had seemingly been in the bottom three as many times as Joshua Ledet had received standing ovations this season. But still, the fact that America never truly developed an appreciation for Elise's talents was definitely worthy of an eyebrow-raise.
I'm not sure what it was about Elise that never fully connected with viewers. Was it her age? Much ado had been made all season about Elise being (gasp!) 28, and last week when Elise was in the bottom three for the umpteenth time, she had even theorized that the judges went harder on her because, as the cast's thicker-skinned "old lady," she could take it. But come on--she's TWENTY-EIGHT. Nicki Minaj is 29, current Hot 100 chart-topper Gotye is 31, and one of those LMFAO guys who were dancing with a zebra last week on "Idol" is actually in his mid-thirties. The original Idol, Kelly Clarkson, turned 30 this week, and she's more popular than ever. And Elise is only one year older than Adam Lambert was when he competed on "Idol." So 28 is not old, people. Only on "American Idol," a show that over the past couple seasons has increasingly celebrated youth almost to the point of fetishism, would that even be an issue.
And besides, the other contestants in the bottom three this week were the two of the cast's youngest singers, Hollie Cavanagh and Skylar Laine. So age ain't everything, obviously.
So was it Elise's supposed "bad attitude"? Many viewers seemed to think that she had a chip on her Stevie-Nicks-shawled shoulder, because she'd sass back to the judges or dare to let her genuine disappointment and frustration show on her face when she was being critiqued. It was getting to the point that when the top six visited TMZ for "media training" during one of this week's silly filler segments, she actually asked for advice from Harvey Levin, of all people, on how to appear smilier and sweeter.
Well, Elise always brought a smile to my face, and I'm sad that the show will now rock a little less harder and be a little less cooler without her and her groovy growl. But I give her credit for sort of being the Haley Reinhart rebel-girl of Season 11, and for going out in style this Thursday, belting her little tattooed heart out during her exit song, "Whole Lotta Love."
And if Stevie Nicks doesn't make good on her promise to hire Elise, then the Queen Extravaganza really should snatch her up.