Grin & Jere Bear It: “Idol’s” First Finalist Eliminated

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks (New)

This week, "American Idol" producers threw in yet another Season 11 twist, deciding that on the top 13 results show, instead of having the usual bottom three with the overall lowest vote-getter going home, there'd just be one bottom guy and one bottom girl--with the judges, not America, deciding which of those two to cut. So when Jennifer Lopez's favorite, Jeremy "Jere Bear" Rosado, ended up on the chopping block, I assumed that the other contestant there with him, my girl Elise Testone, was a goner.

Jeremy being in the bottom was something I understood. While he didn't give a bad performance this week, his only real fan seemed to be J.Lo, whose devotion to her Jere Bear this season bordered on baffling at times. Jeremy only made the top 13 in the first place, in fact, because J.Lo put him there as a Wild Card. America didn't vote for Jeremy in the semifinals last week, and apparently America didn't vote for him this week, either. Something about Jeremy just never connected fully with anyone other than Jennifer, despite the fact that even big meanie Jimmy Iovine once declared him the "nicest guy on the show." Apparently this time, a nice guy really did finish last, which is too bad. But let's face it, Jeremy was not the best singer this season--and he even he admitted, "Last night wasn't my best," when speaking with Ryan Seacrest.

As for Elise, my beloved rocker chick with the rasp in her throat and the room-service flowers in her dirty-blonde hair, I was sad to see her facing rejection so early in the season, but this wasn't a huge  surprise either. Elise really, really struggled this week with her very ill-suited Whitney Houston jam, "I'm Your Baby Tonight." And while I believe she was simply bummed out by the judges' unusually rough critiques on Wednesday, it's possible that viewers misinterpreted her stone-faced disappointment as a bad attitude, and that that hurt her chances even more.

Anyway, even though there was technically only a bottom two this Thursday, that certainly didn't stop Ryan from draggggging out the results-show process for 57 minutes, dramatically rattling off the names of the bottom three girls and bottom three boys--six contestants, or really almost half of the entire cast--before finally announcing that the only two contestants actually in jeopardy were Jeremy and Elise. So rounding out the initially announced at-risk six were the very talented Joshua Ledet and Erika Van Pelt, who were thankfully the first of the six singers sent back to safety, along with Jermaine Jones and Shannon Magrane.

Of those other four--and really of all six contestants--the obvious weak link was Shannon. Shannon was the only singer in the top 13 who epically failed--or, as Steven Tyler so uncharacteristically bluntly worded it, "crashed and burned"--and the fact that she received more votes than Elise proves that viewers often vote with their hearts, not their ears.

In the end, however, the judges did decide to give Elise another chance--which meant that J.Lo's favorite, poor Jeremy, was the one they sent home. I am sure it was not a coincidence that J.Lo herself was the judge who had to tell Jeremy the bad news--"Idol's" producer, nasty Nigel Lythgoe, surely orchestrated that to increase the drama factor--but at least Jennifer didn't fight to keep her boy in the competition over the much more worthy Miss Testone, as I'd feared she would.

And now that Elise has been given a second chance, hopefully she can rebound next week and rock it like I know she can. Until then, Parker out.

Related links:

Follow me on Twitter