April 26, 2012 at 10:41 PM ET
After three weeks of being unpredictable, "American Idol" voters finally did something conventional and sent home someone who was expecting the bad news.
For Elise Testone, nothing on "Idol" had been easy. Every week she seemingly had to start from square one with both the judges and a less-committed fan base. Mentor Jimmy Iovine, who is right more often than he’s wrong, noted a couple of weeks ago that her difficulty at getting votes after anything other than spectacular performances meant that she was always one bad week away from going home.
That proved to be the case, and the inevitable happened when she was voted off Thursday. She finished in sixth place, meaning the rebirth of classic rock on “Idol” will have to wait for another year.
Though the judges and Jimmy criticized Elise for her song choices, there was nothing wrong with her vocals. To channel one of Randy Jackson’s favorite phrases, she can definitely sing. Her problem was the same thing that often vexes contestants at this stage – voters tend to pick singers who sound like people already on the radio or on their iPods.
Elise stayed in her classic-rock lane on the show, and it worked out well for her most of the time. But on a night where there wasn’t anyone who did truly awful, she was the finalist who didn’t sound like anyone on the radio. People who sing like Elise does rarely last until the end on “Idol,” so making it even this far was a surprise.
The shame of it was that they had to send her home instead of the other live acts. Given the efforts of Queen Extravaganza, Katy Perry and season 10's Stefano Langone on Thursday night, any of them would have been more deserving of the boot.
Also in the bottom three this week were Skylar Laine and Hollie Cavanagh. Skylar was a surprise given how well she’s done lately, which will surely get her fans pumped up to vote earlier and more often next week. Hollie was much better this week than last, but it would be a big shock if she wasn’t the next to go.
That having been said, Skylar’s low vote total wasn’t the shocker of the night. That goes to Ryan Seacrest, who looked like he was totally cured from whatever ailed him on Wednesday’s show. (Whatever he took, we want some for the next time we get sick.)
Meanwhile, despite getting similar feedback as Elise as far as song choice is concerned, Phillip Phillips avoided the bottom three yet again and looks like a lock for the final. He had an off week, had his song choices criticized and he still gets nothing but love from the crowd. Will he have to throw up onstage to lose some fan support? We're starting to wonder.
Joining him in the top three were Joshua Ledet and ... Jessica Sanchez! It’s great news for Jessica, who is making the judges look smart for using the save on her. Joshua, on the other hand, has such a big voice and great attitude that it’s hard not to like him, and the judges clearly do.
Still, like everyone else, he’s just one bad week away from going home.
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