Idology: Elise Testone on 'Vienna,' 'Whole Lotta Love' and the Moment J.Lo 'Crossed the Line'

To say Elise Testone‘s American Idol trajectory had its ups and downs would be like saying the 2012 presidential campaign is mildly contentious. Indeed, the Season 11 rocker chick gave us some of the choicest moments of Season 11 — think “Vienna,” “Whole Lotta Love,” and “Bold as Love” — but also struggled with what some observers felt was an unbecoming attitude when faced with trips to the Bottom 3 and tough criticism from Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson.

Now, in a two-part Idology interview, Elise addresses her fans and detractors, explaining her state of mind when she found herself repeatedly in jeopardy early in the season, the thought process behind some of her signature runs, which lyrics in particular she was excited to bring to life, how the grueling Idol process helped her learn more about herself as an artist, and which criticism from Jennifer Lopez made her brain do a CTRL+ALT+DEL.

RELATED | American Idol Top 4 Performance Recap: Lost in the Wilderness

So press play below on Parts 1 and 2 of the Elise Testone Idology Experience, and for all my Idol news, interviews, and recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Michael says:

    More than one part for ALL Idology segments… Yes please!

    • Especially for these last 5 contestants. It’s incredibly interesting to hear their takes on each performance. Most interviews you get with these contestants it’s usually only 2 or 3 minutes, and mostly the interview is very generic, this is really the one place to get insight into their thoughts and what really happened. Plus hearing their Behind the scenes stuff and their thoughts on the judges is always interesting.

      • Lo says:

        Yes!!! Thank you Michael (and Jason!) We really really appreciate the longer interviews. You are always such a great interviewer and bring out the best in the contestants.

        • thanks says:

          YES-Thank you times a million for the very smart interview. Loved seeing Elises bold and upbeat personality. Very cool and real girl.

          • Mary B says:

            She really looks beautiful. she is so talented. It would be a crime if she goes no where though for some reason I don’t think Jimmy will sign her or even if she would go with him even if he did want her.

          • My Alter Ego says:

            @Mary B – a business “marriage” between Jimmy I. and Elise would benefit neither of them.

  2. Eric says:

    TWO PARTS!!!!! You didn’t lie that it was worth the wait.
    Michael I have forgiven you for everything. Amazing interview as usual!!!

    Jason. You are fantastic. Fantastic job at editing as usual!!!!

  3. Sawyer says:

    She definitely DOES NOT have an attitude, very good interviewer in my opinion. Elise is awesome

  4. Bobbie says:

    I love you Elise!!

  5. MA says:

    Yaaaaaaaaay! I will go watch now! :)

  6. Rob says:

    Hey Michael – have been a fan of yours for 3 years or so (and you’re adorable to boot), but have never watched an interview of yours til this. And you’re amazing. I love TV and love Idol and watch it religiously, and every one of your questions were so intelligent and relevant and articulate. Just amazing. Thanks for that.

    • Dick Whitman says:

      Are you saying you haven’t watched the 5-part interview with Haley?

    • Lo says:

      No way, Slezak’s interviews are legendary!! Go watch his 5 part interviews with Kris, Adam, and Allison on Youtube, they are the so interesting

      • Steve says:

        The Siobhan interview from Season 9 is a classic as well. But definite agreeance on the Season 8 epic interviews with Kris, Adam and (especially) Allison.

        • My Alter Ego says:

          Besides the ‘views listed directly above and the extraordinarily famous Idoloonies with Haley, don’t miss the Idolatry interview with Crystal Bowersox as well.

  7. Michael says:

    Maybe have Elise as as correspondent for a future episode or two?

  8. Luiz says:

    Yay, two parts!!! Three would have been even better, but the main point is that it was a huge progress for Idology. =)

    Loved every second of it. Elise deserves that extra time, she’s amazing, a great woman and singer. I never thought she was a difficult person of anything like that, and I think that interview proves it. And I just LOOOOVE when you ask the contestant about the stupid things the judges say. Please go there with Hollie too in the future, Michael!

    To everyone involved with that interview: great job, thanks for all that.

  9. Dick Whitman says:

    My Queen.

  10. shelbybb says:

    Hmm, feeling a little confused. I liked her ok on the show and she has great vocals but definitely felt she had some attitude issues relating to the audience. In the interview she talked about not knowing much about Idol before coming on the show and that just doesn’t sit well with me. It sounded like she was just too busy to sit and watch a silly tv show. If you’re going on a nationally televised show to start your career, then do your homework!
    I think “star” quality is so hard to define but I don’t think she has the “it” factor.
    Can’t quite put my finger on it but I think she left the show at the right time.

    • MA says:

      Oh for the love of god. Now you’re going to bash her for not watching TV?? Because she actually doesn’t have an attitude and isn’t mean, so you have to come up with something else? Please. Just PLEASE. (And let me be clear: by “PLEASE,” I mean, “give me a f****** break.”

      • Yo' says:

        Fanned and faved.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Well no kidding, MA. When I was in my 20s I didn’t watch a lot of TV either. I was finishing up college and WORKING FOR A LIVING, kind of like Elise. My husband traveled a lot with his job so I had a house and yard to take care of by myself.
        Elise is not the first contestant that’s said they didn’t really watch the program.

        • noa says:

          yes, Crystal Bowersox comes to mind. i don’t remember people being mad at her for that. both of them made their seasons MUCH more interesting because of that.

          i always wonder what would have happened if the first week wasn’t Whitney, or if she hadn’t gotten that ridiculous critic. maybe the entire season would have gone differently (for her, at least). i think she definitely could have been in the top 4 (just cause the top 3 we have now has been set in stone since day 1).

          • MA says:

            Was Elise in the bottom 3 after that Adele performance? Because that was fantastic, and if she was, I don’t think Whitney mattered too much. Also what did she sing after Whitney but before Vienna? I still wish that Idol would have some vision and do something cool like make the guys sing Whitney and the girls sing Stevie Wonder, but I’m not holding my breath. I’ve realized over the years that this show isn’t really about finding unique musicians. They want someone pretty straight (not as in gay vs. straight, but as in straight vs. daring). I’ve accepted that for the most part and just try to enjoy whoever comes along.
            A friend of mine was saying yesterday that she wished Elise had tried out for the Voice instead of Idol because the Voice does seem to appreciate real musicians, probably because the coaches aren’t so much judging as guiding and they’re all actually working, current, interesting (yes, even Xtina) performers themselves. (No, JLo doesn’t count.) But then we realized that if it had been THIS season of the Voice, Elise and Juliet would’ve probably canceled each other out, especially if they were on the same team. No doubt they’d have had to battle each other in that case, and then what would we do? So I’ve decided that the way it went was just right because we were lucky enough to get to really see both of them.

          • noa says:

            she did Adele on top 25 night, and she was one of the 5 girls. but Whitney was the first week of the finales. i think it made all the difference. because people were still getting to know her and the bad critics, her being sad about them- it sort of created the idea that she has a bad attitude, and it created the situation with the judges (that’s when Randy made up the whole “boxing with the song” thing that i still don’t get. but hey, i don’t speak Randy!).
            if she would have gotten a good critic right after Adele and people would just like her for the music, when they eventually found out that she doesn’t mask her feelings when getting bad (and stupid) remarks from the judges, they would be by her side.

            after Whitney she did Let’s Stay Together, and the judges liked it (Randy: “she’s back!!”. oh, shut up…) and they were upset when she was in the B3.

            i like Idol better, so i’m glad she did this show (plus- Idology!). you hear them sing a little more, it’s more about the contestants than the judges. i just can’t imagine Elise with dancers behind her, and that could happen on the voice. maybe if she was on team Blake it would have been cool. plus- he really takes care of his team afterwards.
            as for Juliet- i think that Elise would have just done more jazz and soul instead of rock just to set herself apart.

          • MA says:

            Ah, I see. I barely paid attention at the beginning, but that’s all very interesting.
            Randy’s an idiot and he’s mean. Nuff said.

    • Lourdes says:

      I agree with your comment. The fact that she knew so little about Idol before she auditioned made it seem like she felt she was a bit “above” it. I’m not saying she should have done a deep dive on 10 seasons of American Idol history, but at least be familiar with the season that preceded yours. Contrast that to David Cook who probably didn’t watch Idol much before his audition, but certainly did his homework on Daughtry and Bo Bice before the semi-finals. I always appreciated that he really took the opportunity seriously.

      • FreeHaley says:

        She did study up in the end when she said she picked a different Keys song so as to not accidentally copy Haley again. How is what you just said Cook did any more? She studied up a little before semi-finals.

    • Tom says:

      She may have been a little naive about how the show works and what type of audience it has but some people just don’t watch a whole lot of TV. Either way, she – just like she did on the show – kept it real and just let the cards falls where they may. I actually loved the fact she didn’t seem quite as “calculated” as much of the others.

    • Ray says:

      Cannot agree with you. Elise gave a good reason for not watching the show. Why would it not sit well with you? Makes no sense to me. It should be about her singing. Besides, Elise had her own band and was improving herself as a performer. She did her homework in so many more ways.
      She learned how to arrange songs, for example. She would not have gotten that by watching Idol.
      Elsie was busy, she had a job, and she was out with her band entertaining people.

    • Lizzie says:

      I agree that she needs to tone down the attitude. Not a horrible one but it’s actually why I stopped voting for her. When she would get all defensive about the comments and act like she was the only one getting negative feedback it was frustrating. I think she is to defensive and this whole “I never really watched” thing bothers me too. Like..SURE! lol! Now it seems like she’s just saying that as a way to be all “Whatever, I didn’t’ like you EITHER” lol!

      That said, I loved her voice and can’t WAIT for her album!!!

      • Tom22 says:

        The comment about it ` not being her` having one night stands explains a disconnect with a few of the songs …

        I certainly am not saying that all great singers have to be unfalithful or sexually reckless but there is something about an openess to that sort of passion or sense that it is a delicisous while forbidden thing. “that sounds good, but I can’t” is different from ‘thats not me”

        The whole idea of desire checked by reality seems central to anything “bluesy” .

        I think calling her ‘attitude” -bad- is unfair she seems to care about other people and work hard and be polite and good traits. Not bad, but probably accurate traits might be cautious , and maybe a bit guarded (and guarded walks such a fine line with occasionally looking defensive)

        While there is a competition overlay, i think people expect people to appear to be striking the attitude that you would expect a guest to bear themselves with on a late night talk show.

        Contestants are also guests. Entertainers are still there for the audiences behalf when they’re not singing….what they are saying is supposed to be entertaining too. Talking about something wrong is usually always done with some anecdotal angle the draws some attention to a funny part of a bad situation while talking about the bad situation.

        Thats quite a task being warm and charming guest and audeince pleaser and sharing little funny things about your life at the same time you’re being criticized or about to take on a pretty darn challenging performance in front of millions of people

        A “bad attitdude” is probably really being “normal” .,,, only a super duper unusually great attitude toward the world cuts it. 16 year olds are still so young and optomistic is far harder for them to let anything less than optomistic slip.

        • MA says:

          Dude…okay, I actually think most of the things you’re writing are legitimate, but are you actually implying that Elise can’t fully connect to sweaty, raunchy music or lyrics because she’s not open to have sex with strangers? Like…what??? I’ll admit that I thought that comment was telling too, but not in a negative way. My god. (I also find this somewhat jaw-dropping and hilarious given that in last night’s thread someone basically said that having ten boyfriends makes you a slut. Boy…chicks just really can’t win, can they?)

          • noa says:

            a certain AI season 11 contestant is singing It’s a man’s man’s man’s world in my head right now. one clue- it’s NOT Joshua.

        • MA says:

          No kidding! This is still 2012, right?! I suddenly feel transported to the Mad Men era, and not in all the good ways.

    • Tom22 says:

      Shelby might not have put it exactly right but I had a similar take away.
      – dvr… doesn’t everyone have a DVR ? i couldn’t watch idol without one … if only to skip randy talking …. but not only to skip but to replay the parts I like and to think about what a heard and listen again more keenly
      – there are past episodes available too, especially over the course of many months.
      – even if the goal wasn’t to change how to act to win, every bit about how to navigate song choice decisions and pressures and what you can and can’t get changed in orchestrations etc has got to help the ARTISTIC output. Given that they keep that information so close to their chests its almost imperative for a future constestant to watch all the little post and pre performance comments by contestants and mentors etc of past years to read between the lines about what sort of approaches to requests might work and how pushing other ways might backfire.

      I know that is all a pain, but business in general is a pain, and people get paid for negotiating their ship thrrough tricky waters….
      … I’m not sure any of that might have changed the voting results, but it might have meant that different songs could have been grabbed or arrangemetns more to her liking etc.

      Easier said than done and hats off to Any contestant canny and skilled and hard working enough to even make it through a day of the holywood rounds let alone the real show…. can’t be perfect

      • MA says:

        I don’t own a DVR. I only got basic cable a month ago because my antenna broke, and I’d say that 70% of the people I hang out with don’t have cable or DVRs either. I also have numerous friends who don’t even own TV sets. Out of the eight people I know who were voting for Elise, five either don’t own TVs or don’t have cable and watched her online (sans commentary, sans other contestants) the next day until they realized they better vote the night before. Instead, we live lives that don’t revolve around television. We have jobs, second jobs, kids, dogs, books, the beach, restaurants, music and art shows to go to, people to talk to, the Internet to troll. This country is actually filled with people who don’t watch television or American Idol. Is that really so shocking??? Basically, Elise sounds like just about everyone I know, and I’m flabbergasted that anyone would be so shallow as to judge a person negatively because she doesn’t watch television and didn’t go into her incredibly successful run on American Idol with a cut-throat strategy of studying past episodes. Are you kidding me?? Which takes me back to my original rant, I suppose. I’d repeat it, but there would probably be more cursing.

        • Tom22 says:

          hey, i expect Lance armstrong to learn everything about the route he’s going to ride in a race.

          I’d expect people who were undertaking what might be one of the largest opportuntities they have in their life to do all the extra work they can to make it their best shot.

          But, I don’t expect people to be perfect. Thats a natural enough mistake to make.

          The next person in Elises position would be well served to get the advice to learn all they can to help work through elments that will effect their actual peformances they get to make.

          Its not like this was so oppotuntiy that dropped in the lap out of the blue and they were on the show the next day or something. Plenty of time between never having watched it due to work (understandable 100%) to OMG i’ve been selected for the show starting in 3 weeks.. what can i do to prepare?

          • MA says:

            I’d expect Lance to know the whole route too. I wouldn’t, however, expect him to know which race promoters talked trash and which didn’t, which shirts were the coolest, or the make and model of every bike ridden by every racer who’d ever been on that course before him. I expect American Idol contestants to give a lot of thought to their songs, to understand and feel those songs, to grasp the basics of chord progression and melody, and so on. I don’t need them to know that last year Haley sang a couple of songs they like too or that the judges tend to say they want you to be yourself, but really they just want you to fall into line. I suspect that Elise approached this like a real job, not a popularity contest. Naive? Sure, a little bit. People who don’t watch TV tend to be more sheltered than the rest of us. But anything more negative than that and something to bring up as an example of her “bad attitude” or how she thinks she’s “above” this? Of course not.

          • FreeHaley says:


            And it is sad that knowing how to play the Idol game is given more respect and bonus points by some in teh audience and by Nigel than knowing all she did about music, sad.

            (Side note: I wonder if she was one of the slightly naive ones, not that that is bad, that Colton who referred to when he said something along the lines of some of my fellow contestants kept seeming to think it was, and want it to actually be, a talent show, but it is not, it’s a TV show, a TV show, as I kept saying; also one should point out that he did all the homework in the world and didn’t last as long as her, so it’s just as well she spent her time focused on what she loves, plus things like a few hours of sleep and managing to pay the rent, minor stuff, hah; anyway I think both of them should have lasted longer: Elise, Jessica, Joshua, Colton, Hollie for top five and the first three for the top three and Elise for the top)

          • FreeHaley says:

            the +1 going to MA there

      • Yo' says:

        You can either live life or you can watch it. (Not everyone works 9-5 or owns a dvr or wants to.)

        • shelbybb says:

          Yo, when you apply for a job it’s smart to know something about the company you want to work for.

          • MA says:

            There’s knowing the company you work for, and there’s knowing all the details of American Idol. She knew the company; what she didn’t know was the bullsh*t and you NEVER learn that until you get the job and work there for awhile.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Great point, MA. I went to college for over four years and earned two technical degrees. I read up on what I wanted to do and who I wanted to work for. What didn’t they teach me in college? (1) 75% percent of the people you work with and, worse yet, work FOR, are going to be either crazy or incompetent. or both. (2) Your job is to KEEP YOUR JOB. It’s not about earning money for the company, saving the company money, product development, problem solving, quality assurance, or anything of the sort. Just smile, look pretty, and keep your job. It’s a big game.

            Have I mentioned how much I miss corporate America, LOL?
            I watched “Margin Call” the other day. It was painful and I nearly didn’t make it to the end of the movie.

          • Tuzo says:

            For me, for you, @MA, +One Billion Percent! You are truly on a roll in this thread!

    • FreeHaley says:

      Wow and who is to say she knew should would audition for this season before last season was even over?
      And even if she did it just proves she’s more into the music, the real stuff, the real deal, then silly politics of the show, she kept it real.
      She has the ‘it’ factor in spades!

    • My Alter Ego says:

      Ummm — I’m feeling a bit confused by your response. It was pointed out on the show that Elise was trying to make a living as a musician. When one is trying to make a living as a musician in the small circuits that she was working in that can mean doing “up to 10 gigs a week” as was also pointed out on the show. (BTW, a ten-gig-week was probably a great week in terms of helping to pay bills, but would usurp enormous amounts of time!) On top of that she was teaching. So then, factor in the normal daily/weekly existence – grocery shopping, laundry, taking care of her dog, and that little thing called sleep. Yes, shame on her for not “doing her homework” before getting on Idol. (Shaking my head…)

      • Marsaili says:

        Apparently Shelby is just another one of those people that are going to think poorly of Elise no matter the facts or what she’s said. Some people just have to be disagreeable—which is sad because Elise is an awesome person—but that’s Shelby’s loss.

        • My Alter Ego says:

          Marsaili, I “think you’ve got it!” so we’ll just have to concentrate on what an “awesome person” (and musician, if you don’t mind me adding that) Elise is and go on our way.

  11. JBS says:

    Now here’s hoping Michael’s interview with Skylar will be up soon enough.
    If his Elise interview is this good AND in 2 parts, then the one with Skylar will be off the hook and just as long.

  12. Marsaili says:

    Awesome! Thank you Michael and Jason, that was terrific! Thank you Elise, I can’t wait to see what you do next and I’m ready to buy that album!!! ;-)

  13. Zoey says:

    She’s so incredibly well-spoken. And honestly, I can’t wait for her debut record!

  14. Tom says:

    Elise was the most artistic and took the most risks and NEVER got the credit for it. Shame! She is awesome, talented and seems like a nice person as well!

  15. Yvonne says:

    She was sooooo good and went home too damn soon! Can’t wait to see her on the tour this year. I am most looking forward to her and Joshua!

  16. MA says:

    Michael, you are the best interviewer ever. Somehow you manage to ask questions that might be tricky or difficult without coming across as jerky or exploitive, and you let your subjects say what they really think and feel in a space that doesn’t judge and gives them room to shine. You’re a good man, dude. Really, really good.
    That said, obviously, I loved this. Elise continues to come across as smart and well spoken and kind and so musically thoughtful, and…well, I just love it. Way to go, Elise! You rock, and I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us!
    Shallow comment: Boy, she looks so pretty! Again, I say, what is that shirt, and where can I get one??

    • noa says:

      hello! it’s your Elise fashion expert again! it’s a dress, she wore it to top 9 results show i think.

      • MA says:

        A dress! Nice!

      • MA says:

        Oh, and noa, I’m sure you caught this too, but I chuckled when they talked about the fan. Another reason to love Elise: She’s hip to the awesome that is the wind machine.

        • noa says:

          :) she even did the hair affect. i love that girl. i decided to send her a present and a letter. this is crazy! at 25 i’m sending my first fan mail… i already chose a present and ordered from amazon (SNL best of will ferrell DVDs, because she mentioned a few times that she likes him and his movies), but for the letter i have to go mail it so that will take actually going to the post office. ah. we’ll see. where did all this geeking out come from??

          • MA says:

            She did! It was hilarious, and I thought to myself, “Anyone who recognizes the gloriously dorky greatness of the wind machine can STAY.”
            I think that’s very sweet. I’m sure she’ll appreciate it.

  17. Ghost of Kelly Clarkson says:

    Michael, you never disappoint me as an interviewer. Thank you for these opportunities to get to know the singers in great depth than a 90-second intro package will allow. And all the best to Elise; she’s got a great voice and I hope this is the start of something big for her.

  18. MamaLis says:

    Yeaaa! Great interview as always! We love you Elise and can’t wait for your music!

  19. jj says:

    Oh my. This interview was done very well! Great job!

  20. Yo' says:

    Oh WOW! I thought possibly she couldn’t interview. I may just be in heaven!

  21. zaza says:

    What a wonderful interview! She is so well spoken and the clips of her singing gave me chills all over again. I really, really hope she is picked up by a label that supports her unique talent.

  22. Karrie says:

    That was worth the wait! She was my absolute favorite and I haven’t watched since she left; I sure hope she gets signed by someone! Love Elise!

  23. Yo' says:

    Elise just helped me miss the first twenty minutes of Idol. Elise truly is her music; we can see it. Her problem with the television show was knowing too well who she is, with confidence in what she does; the show favors ingenues. I sure hope she gets a deal, because she is a musician I need to hear from. Thanks for the long interview.

    • FreeHaley says:


      yeah great that we got a double length interview from her, very well spoken and interesting, lots of great clips

  24. Tuzo says:

    Elise! And a 2-part Idology! Best day ever! Well, the day the day my son was born was better. And the day my daughter was born was pretty good.
    Oh yeah, my wedding day ranks a bit higher.
    But today is still pretty good. :)

  25. FreeHaley says:

    Ah man, she was da best! Shoulda been her, Jessica and Joshua going for home town visits this week (Kinnelon!).
    I think we have not heard remotely the last from her yet though…. not remotely.

  26. Kelm says:

    I just love her :) she’s very confident and it’s a good thing ! Hope everything works for her the way she wants it !

    (plus Haley’s mention so AWESOME interview !)

  27. FreeHaley says:

    Ah man what a musician, tons of musical smarts there. Such a shame the Haleys and Elises just can’t get a break on these shows and make it as far as they deserve or at the least to not have some of the absurd ‘judging’ tossed there way and all that. The show insults itself when they chose to do that.

    Anyway can’t wait to hear from her in the future (maybe live if she ever does a little home town bash).

    But lots of great memories with all those clips there.

  28. Ray says:

    No matter who becomes the official idol winner, Elise is the winning idol for me. She is awesome. Since I have watched idol and followed it closely (from season three on), three people stand out, Melinda Dolittle, Kris Allen and now Elise Testone. Two went home too soon, in my opinion, Melinda and Elise. In the case of Kris, I am glad he won the title. It has been important to his success as a person and peformer. I was somewhat distraught by some who tried to pull him down because Adam came in second. The fact is, not being the ultimate winner is not a downer. Adam has tremendous talent, but obviously I like Kris better. And Kris and Adam have supported each other. Melinda and Elise did not win idol, but those of us who liked their performances and like their type of music, think no less of them because they did not win.

  29. Davey says:

    I’m so glad that Elise didn’t watch Idol a lot. That’s what made her so refreshing. The interview revealed how sophisticated she is about music and what a student she still is. I think she can have a career of some sort because of her original approach to the songs she chooses. But I hope she doesn’t stick to rock. I really think she excels singing jazz and R&B. She has an incredible power in her singing so I look forward to seeing what she does away from Idol.

    • tewence says:

      i agree 100% percent. i love the humble confidence she exhibits towards her craft. she is going to be one of those artists who has a long career and always tries to do and learn more and more. props to her for gaining real experience before thrusting herself into the public eye. sheis genuine through and through and cannot wait to hear her album. (i hope she does the jazzy r&b type stuff as well!)

    • marie says:

      She would make one HELL of a jazz singer; she has a smoky quality to her voice not unlike Diana Krall’s. But genre popularity goes in cycles: a few years ago, young jazz singers were all the rage; now, unfortunately, not so much.

    • My Alter Ego says:

      @Davey, tewence, & marie — you are all so very correct in your comments. And marie, I hope she does go the jazz route more in the future years! She is so gifted in that genre! (Which is not to suggest that she’s not gifted in R&B, rock, etc.)

  30. Laura says:

    Loved the interview. Elise is a hell of a singer. A very cool voice and style. I love how she called out JLo on her insipid remarks. The judges are really idiots. Constant contradiction and idiotic commentary. Today we saw what a great singer JLo is with another of her auto-tuned, backtracked lip synced performances.
    Good luck Elise. Loved Vienna–i’ts my fave Billy J song too and just adored your take on it

  31. noa says:

    1. I am so happy i can stop obsessing over when this interview will be posted. there’s something about seeing Slezak’s interview that kind symbolizes the end of the “journey” for me, so i needed this one to get over my anger over Elise being voted off.
    2. i can’t think of a better time to finally post a 2 part episode of Idology than Elise’s interview. and if that’s the reason it took so long then i apologize to Michael and Jason for bugging them on twitter and here on the message boards. worthy cause indeed.
    3. i just love everything about this woman. she is funny and smart and has a great attitude about everything (and no “great attitude” doesn’t always mean “happy”). i love her honesty here about J-Lo.
    4. i also know that she will find that person who helps her make the next step of her career. maybe Ellen??
    5. i’m going to watch it again (and again) and probably come back to write more. nothing better than a whole page for conversations about Elise.

    • tewence says:

      it is obvious, especially by this interview (although i saw it before), that she IS music inside and out. SHE is the one true artist of this season. she has such a maturity about the way she approaches and executes her choices, with knowledge and experience to back it up. she should be the mentor, for goodness sakes.

      • My Alter Ego says:

        @noa & tewence, I truly appreciate your admiration of Elise. I’m with both of you on it. Tewence, I love that you recognize that she IS music INSIDE and OUT. I’m slightly uncomfortable with the concept that she’s the “one true artist of the season,” only because I’m uncomfortable with the constant use of “artist” to describe anyone who attempts to do anything of a (slightly) musical nature, thus rendering the concept of “artist” and “artistry” completely worthless.

        What I am comfortable in saying is that Elise was the best “real musician” this season (I’ll concede that Colton had some elements of “musicianship,” although what he opted to demonstrate was more on the level of showmanship [a popular, more contemporary version of Liberace] rather than musianship) and Joshua’s voice is second (followed by Jessica, Erica, Hollie). (It may seem odd that I rank Joshua’s vocal talent above Jessica, but I’m amazed by his “raw” talent displaying such good technique.) As such, Elise stands to reach that concept of “artist” and “artistry” much faster than her peers of AI11.

        • noa says:

          so true! and that’s mostly because she has done that already… she’s been working as a musician for years and it shows. i think there are plenty of artists this year. something for everyone. but to me- Elise was the best. and what was even better is that she’s done so much and you can find a lot of it online and get to know her music beyond the show. so i KNOW i’ll really like what she’ll do next.

        • tewence says:

          i can agree with that…

          i couldn’t articulate it as well as you have! however i feel that there is some artistry in the way elise uses her instrument (voice) to underscore her interpretation of the songs she sang. would that be too far out of line? i personally feel, after watching this interview, that her artistry was bumped up a few notches than i originally thought. i was also in that train of thought as she is the one who has spent the most time developing her craft of all the contestants. (i know, “craft” is the nemesis to “art”). she is a technically sound singer, and she uses that technique to convey a feeling/emotion. that is how i personally see art…as a former professional dancer [not of the exotic variety ;)] my body was the tool, that i developed technically constantly, and used to convey something that was inside of me. alas, art is hugely subjective.

          and i agree 100% with what you said about the other contestants you mentioned. i think the whole erica thing was a shame. i feel like she was misunderstood by a lot of people (me being one of them) but i can’t put my finger on why. i can’t fault her vocal abilities. i’ll admit, i’m a little embarrassed that i let some other factor get in the way of how i felt about her voice. :(

          by the way, thank you for being able to have mature, dignified conversation unlike some other trolls i find on this site who shall remain nameless.

  32. darcy's evil twin says:

    Hooray! A two part Idology. As usual, Mr. Slezak your interview was wonderful. Elise is clearly a devoted student of music. It was so nice to be reminded how great her performances were. Go, Elise. I love your voice and I know you’ll do great.

  33. noa says:

    i’m so glad someone finally addressed the “One and Only”-off. it was weird that no one talked about it before…

    • MA says:

      You know…I never even knew about this. I watched the beginning episodes sporatically and have no idea who the other girl even is. I’m also surprised that was allowed, by the producers, I mean. So when you pick a song, it’s not really “yours”? How odd.

      • noa says:

        i think they did it on purpose. wanted only Elise to go through (she was the last one and she was better on this song). i actually really liked Jen and they showed a lot of her during hollywood and Vegas. i was surprised they did that to her.

  34. Aiden says:

    I’d buy her record tomorrow if I could.

    • marie says:

      Me too, without even previewing it first – and that’s a lot for me to say, as most post-Idol albums have definitely not done it for me.

  35. Robin says:

    Great interview with Elise. She reminds me of the female version of David Cook. Well versed, seasoned and down to earth. Definately my favorite female contestant of the season.

  36. ClickMe says:

    Love Elise. Love her voice!!! Thanks for the interview, Mr Slezak!

  37. darcy's evil twin says:

    Maybe Idol should give Elise a job directing the group numbers on the show. :-)
    Also, it’s interesting that Elise is a student of music, as opposed to Jessica, who giggled when Steven VanZandt changed something at the beginning of “Proud Mary” – was it the chord progression? Jessica said she didn’t even know what he was talking about.

    • MA says:

      Yeah, I noticed that too. I forgive Jessica because she’s only 16, but even I mostly know what that means, and I’m no musician. It just reinforced my belief that these kids should be in school, not on TV. I guess I’m just a liberal elitist, but I believe there are enormous benefits to college. Live a little and learn your craft, kids! Raw talent is good, but it’s better with education.

    • noa says:

      Jessica had never even heard the name Billy Joel before Idol. she should educate herself a little in other genres besides soul-R&B. it can only make her better. besides, if you’re a “musician” you should know a lot more about music in general. i’m a linguist, and while there are specific things i’m intersted in or research- i have a background in a lot of subjects. it makes your work better.

      i always wonder with these super talented kids what would have happened with them had they waited till after college (music degree preferably) to try out the music business. think of Jessica and Allison at 22- i bet i would like them even more. (for the record, i like Allison a whole lot more than Jessica, but they’re both super talented and accomplished for their age).

      • marie says:

        I think the same thing, at least about Jessica: that if she had waited 4 or 5 years, I’d probably have enjoyed her performances more. Somehow, for me, though, Allison was the exception who proved the rule: I really enjoyed her on her season of Idol, and even bought all her iTunes tracks from the show.
        Heck, I even wish Hollie had waited a year or two, as much as I ended up appreciating her in the end – she could have been even better, with a couple years more singing and life experience.
        Of course, though, I understand why these kids may not want to wait: although Idol seems right now like it will go on forever, there is really never any guarantee that there will be another season until each season’s official renewal by the network.

        • Suggestor says:

          I don’t think any true fan of Jessica would say she would be worse if she waited three or four years, but I think in Jessica’s case, it is more than about her self. It was a matter of getting her family to a better place. There’s something in Jessica’s story that started to come into better focus after she sang about her father. If she wins Idol, her father may choose to no longer go off to dangerous places. The only power she has is to win this show; become successful enough so that dad can take an easier job. To her father it might be a totally different pov, but perhaps in her mind this can actually happen. Who knows if that is the real story, but something to consider. We have to realize every contestant had a unique struggle. For all who think she should know music theory, well in Jessica’s case… She could logistically learn “American Idol” theory. Meaning that she might not have had the opportunities to financially make it to music school but she could learn everything about the tv show. So I agree, let’s not bash Elise for her ignorance of a tv show, but let’s not think Jessica could easily follow the same path. Sometimes life only gives you a few chances and you must be bold. Both of them were bold in their own ways.

      • Tom22 says:

        I’m all with this.

        Miachael Jackson spent countless hours watching and imitating tapes of fred astair, and tap dancers that taught astair and many others.

        Studing a foreign language teaches you more about expressing yourself in your first language too.

  38. marie says:

    Seeing and hearing all those little clips of Elise’s performances all together like that just make me realize all over again just how incredible she is. Can’t wait for her eventual album – I KNOW SHE is not going to release pop fluff like most post-Idols do.

  39. Flex Wheeler says:

    I love you Elise!

  40. tlozec says:

    Elise should meet up with The Voice’s Juliet Simms for a super chic group ala Heart!

  41. NedPepper says:

    Great interview, Slezak. The show hasn’t been the same since you left, Elise. :)

  42. Mel says:

    Michael, I love your gray/hot pink ensemble. Maybe P2 can take a cue from you about what can actually be done with gray! And of course, as always, great interview. I wish Idol had guest judges the way So You Think You Can Dance does, because you would be a phenomenal guest judge. Come to think of it, you’d be a phenomenal permanent judge.

  43. Loni says:

    Great interview! I wish her the best and I hope she really gets herself out there. She has a unique and beautiful voice.

  44. Reese says:

    I liked this interview. I think Elise’s problem is that she takes herself too seriously. Even in the interview, oh I know ALL about group performances because I took 7 semester of Pop 101 back in college which was like 7 years ago. Nobody has EVER given me that critique before, when did she come off? Things like that. I mean, I know you’re “old” Elise but not old enough to learn new things and listen to others. Wish her all the best.

  45. Steve Z says:


    Second… How great it is to see another Idol contestant actually show musical knowledge on several levels (history, structure and performance).

    Lastly… listening to Elise gave me the idea that AI needs to have past contestants act as mentors for the new contestants. Why couldn’t Melinda and Elise be vocal coaches, or be the guest mentors? None of the guest mentors they bring in have the actual experience of competing on Idol. There are several AI contestants and winners that would be great mentors. Heck, they could even wait til top Five or something and bring five past contestants back and have the current crop “pick from a hat” to get matched.

    • noa says:

      Adam did it back in season 9 and it was great! i think David cook could do a great job, J Hud would be exciting, Elise and Melinda of course.

  46. db says:

    Good interview Mike. Elise you have voice like fine wine……good luck!

  47. syb says:

    I hope the day the day comes again when the audience backs mature contestants who sing songs because they believe in them in the way that they believe represents who they are, instead of casting them aside for professional contestants and strategic game players. Those who pass on confident contestants with a point of view because they aren’t humble enough make me scratch my head. I’ll take somebody who is honest about how they feel, who knows which advice to embrace and which to reject, and who believe in themselves every time. Attitude? I’m all for it, in Idol and life.

    The more I hear Elise sing, and the more I hear her talk, the more she becomes one of my all time favorite contestants. I hope she gets to make the record that she wants. If she does, I’ll be first in line for the rock, jazz, blues fusion that she does so beautifully.

  48. blingedup says:

    Elise was my favorite this season. I’ve missed seeing her perform these past few weeks and look forward to following her career. Great interview, as usual, Michael!

  49. Brigette says:

    Very insightful, intelligent, honest interview. Totally agree with her thoughts on the JLo moment. Elise is awesome!

  50. Kitty says:

    I want to say something thoughtful and intelligent, but all I can really think is “OHMYGODILOVEHER!”

    We need more female musicians.