On Thursday night, American Idol voters chose to send the Holy City's Elise Testone home. We think they got it wrong. Take a look at Elise's top five performances and judge for yourself.
5. “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” duet with Phillip Phillips
This performance was fine, but we include it to illustrate a point. When Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty sang this song, they looked at each other, almost acting out the emotions of the song. Throughout the performance, Elise attempted to engage Phillips in the cat-and-mouse, look-me-in-the-eye-goddammit style this song requires, but the Dave Matthews wannabe didn’t even seem to understand the meaning of the words, struggling to stay with Elise’s voice, let alone her stage presence. With the exception of Skylar Laine and occasionally Jessica Sanchez, no one else on the show was able to contextualize their performance and make it into art, which Elise consistently did.
4. “Let’s Get It On”
We honestly don’t understand why the judges were so negative about this performance. It was sultry and funky, and Elise had personality to spare. Of course she sang it well. She growled at all the right times but showed a restraint that has sometimes been hard for her. The song had the right combination of sass and maturity. Maybe we're missing something, but color us confused on Testone's rendition of the Marvin Gaye classic.
On this challenging song, Elise once again showed she could hold back, and the result was damn pretty, not her usual belt-it-out pretty, but soft pretty. But it was still Testone, so she inevitably erupted, and when she did, it only reinforced the level of control she has over her voice. Idol does its best to take control away from the artist, which just makes us excited to see what a shackle-free Elise can pull off.
2. “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”
This one’s just for the chops. On the 49-second Youtube clip of the performance that got her into the Top 25, she’s just showing off. It’s not even fair. Later in the show, the judges pushed the rock thing and then rejected her Hendrix interpretation, but funk and soul are what she knows best and what shows off those virtuoso pipes best.
1. “Whole Lotta Love”
Like there was any question. There were a few moments during the competition where the sheer power of her voice and personality fully came through on television like it does when Elise's performing live at the Pour House. This entire song came across that way. The brute force of her stage presence and the shivery concoctions of her voice were unmatched. Not only was this her best moment, it was the only performance from any contestant where we actually forgot we were watching American Idol and stood up and stomped our feet. We're not worthy. We're not worthy.