Raspy-voiced rocker Elise Testone was sent home on “American Idol” Thursday night after a bottom two that had Elise and Hollie Cavanagh waiting to see who had gained more votes to stay through another week.
The show began with a quote from Freddie Mercury, the late lead singer of Queen, the rock band whose songs the six remaining contestants had taken on this week. And with the flash of the opening logo, the one that looks like aliens are about to beam down into the American Idol dome, "American Idol" got ready to whittle six singers down to five.
The Queen Extravaganza, a Queen cover band handpicked by Brian May and Roger Taylor, delivered a rendition of “Somebody to Love” with May and Taylor to start things off, with a helpful hashtag suggestion from Fox in the lower corner ('#QueenonIdol') in case anyone felt like picking up their smartphones. For a minute, it looked like singer Marc Martel, who handled the Freddie Mercury part on the cover, wasn’t going to hit the high note at the end of the song, but he did a gorgeous job. Original drummer Taylor looked like he was having a blast.
Before any results revelations, there was the official Ford music video featuring the six "Idol" contestants, which was set to "Magic" by B.o.B featuring Rivers Cuomo, and a segment in which the six contestants went over to get "media training" from TMZ staffers. Mostly what we learned from this was that Elise feels she struggles with smiling but not looking fake.
Then host Ryan Seacrest called down Jessica Sanchez and Elise Testone, and mentor Jimmy Iovine offered his thoughts on each contestant. Iovine said Jessica’s choice of “Bohemian Rhapsody” was a bad one, but that for her follow-up, “Dance With My Father” by Luther Vandross, she “understood the words, but she also understood her audience.” He had less kind words for Elise. “She’s a great singer, made bad choices,” Iovine said of her musical selections for the night.
Jessica was safe, Elise was sent to the metal stools in the corner, and season 10 contestant Stefano Langone performed his song “I’m On A Roll,” complete with back-up dancers. He joined the dancers for a brief routine during the instrumental part of the song, which sounded somewhat like you just scored on Super Mario.
The next round of two contestants – Hollie and Joshua – revealed that Joshua was safe, a conclusion Iovine said in his segment had better be a foregone one. If Joshua went home, there was “something wrong with the competition,” Iovine said.
But Hollie went to sit with Elise before Katy Perry performed “Part Of Me,” which involved Perry and her backup dancers dressed in military-themed costumes and kneepads and entering from the ceiling on ropes. In case Perry’s metaphor of “Look at me, I’m sparkling” was too subtle for the audience, a large light with sparks coming off it was lowered from the ceiling.
When Skylar and Phillip came up last, Iovine had criticism for both of them, calling Skylar’s second choice of “Tattoos On This Town” by Jason Aldean as “self-indulgent” and citing Phillip’s comparisons to Dave Matthews by fans as a reason not to do a cover of the Dave Matthews song “The Stone,” the song Phillip chose for his second performance. “That’s a mistake,” Iovine said.
But Phillip was safe and Skylar was in the bottom three – and Hollie and Elise barely made it back to the front before Ryan declared Skylar safe and sent her to the couch.
When Elise’s elimination was announced, there were boos from the audience, and the judges gave a standing ovation. When she performed her final song, “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin, judge Steven Tyler leaned into the microphone to sing along with her.
Did Elise deserve to go home this week, and were you surprised Skylar ended up in the bottom three?