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Interview: Elise Testone of 'American Idol'
You had a pretty big moment on Wednesday night with the piano and closing the show like that. What was the pressure on you and how did it feel to be so well received?
I felt awesome about it. I was so excited about it. I never really know what's going to happen with me. I surprise myself and I hope to bring that kind of surprise to other people as well. I just kept telling myself, "Just stay calm." I decided I was going to be calm.
How did it happen that you and Jen ended up with those two covers of that Adele song?
Yeah, I chose that song first. And then Jen had a different song and the producers didn't like the way it was sounding and they asked her what other artists she likes and she said she loved Adele and she sang a little bit of it and he said, "Do it." She wasn't really 100 percent sure that I was doing it, though, in her defense. So she started working on it and we were kinda simultaneously working on it.
Did you feel like that would hurt your chances or help you?
I didn't feel threatened by it at all. I really did not. I just kinda was upset that they let that happen, just because I was so excited about the song in itself and I was so excited and I felt like it was my thing and to kinda share that. I mean, there's no doubt that people were going to make comparisons about it. It just takes away from what's happening.
You're one of the older contestants this year. Do you feel like you have to be working harder than maybe the 16-year-olds on the show? Like there's a lot more at stake?
Yeah, I'm working really hard, but they have to go to school, you know? It's kinda even, but anyway. I've worked really, really, really hard up to this point, gigging and playing in so many bands, doing so many different things. I feel like it's a little bit easier for me to do these sorts of things. When I get on stage in front of all the people, I feel way more calm than in front of you four. I feel like I'm where I'm supposed to be. It's hard work, but I'm ready for it.
You were, I believe, the only woman to play a musical instrument. How important was that for you?
Yeah. I was excited about that. I really, really made it a point over the last year to learn how to play well enough to accompany myself and not rely on someone else, because you have to be able to take care of yourself.
What are some songs you want to sing? Who are you an artist?
Who am I as an artist? I've got that funk-soul vibe. Old school. I love old school. Jimi Hendrix. Janis Joplin. I love Led Zeppelin. I love rock. I love jazz. I love Ella Fitzgerald so much. It's funny, because as I'm discovering these artists when I was younger, I realized I sing somewhat similar to them and then I would go and listen to Ella Fitzgerald and I'm like, "I understand where she's coming from." She's way better than I am, but I can relate. It's just weird. I was meant to do this.
Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FOX