Elise Testone posing in front of graffiti
|Birth name||Elise Nicole Testone|
July 29, 1983 |
Kinnelon, New Jersey, U.S.
|Origin||Charleston, South Carolina|
|Genres||Rock, blues, soul, jazz, funk|
|Instruments||Vocals, piano, guitar, drums, tambourine, cello|
|Associated acts||The Freeloaders, James Brown Dance Party, Slanguage|
Elise Nicole Testone (//; born July 29, 1983) is an American singer and songwriter from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. She placed sixth on the eleventh season of American Idol. Her debut album In This Life was released in February 2014.
Elise Testone was born on July 29, 1983, to LuAnne and Victor Testone, both of Italian ancestry. She grew up in Kinnelon, New Jersey, and got her first job making sandwiches at Taste of Reality, a local deli. At the age of 13, Testone took lessons with New York City vocal coach Judy Hages. After graduating from Kinnelon High School in 2001, Testone attended Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina, earning a bachelor's degree in music in 2005.
In 2006, Testone moved to Charleston, South Carolina and began collaborating with local rock, pop, funk, and soul musicians, while writing her own blues and jazz songs. In a November 2008 interview, Testone said she worked at PawPurri for Pets in the mornings. In the afternoons, she was a vocal coach at Music Unlimited in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. In the evenings, she performed regularly at restaurants and clubs in Charleston, South Carolina. Testone performs solo and with several Charleston groups, including The Freeloaders, James Brown Dance Party, and Slanguage. In October 2011, Testone and her band, The Freeloaders, won the Funk/Soul/R&B Artist of the Year award in the Charleston City Paper’s Music issue. Testone received additional recognition from the Charleston City Paper in 2011, winning the staff pick for Best Tribute for Elise Testone’s James Brown Dance Party.
Testone has performed as an opening act for various other artists, including Snoop Dogg, Nappy Roots, Seven Mary Three, and Kevin Costner and Modern West. She can play the piano, guitar, drums, tambourine and cello. Her favorite artists are Bonnie Raitt, Michael Jackson and Jimi Hendrix. Other musical influences include B.B. King, Tori Amos, Erykah Badu, Jewel, and Lauryn Hill.
On July 22, 2011, Testone auditioned in North Charleston, South Carolina. She received a standing ovation in Vegas Round along with Reed Grimm, Eben Franckewitz and Haley Johnsen with their group performance of Bobby Vee's "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes."
In the first round of the finals, Testone performed Whitney Houston's "I'm Your Baby Tonight" and was the female contestant with the lowest number of votes. Between Testone and Jeremy Rosado, the male contestant with the lowest number of votes, the judges decided to eliminate Rosado. Testone and fellow contestant Jessica Sanchez received an endorsement from The X Factor season 1 finalist Chris Rene.
The following week, in the top eleven round, Testone performed "Let's Stay Together" by Al Green and received praise from the judges, with Randy Jackson proclaiming, "America, Elise is back!" Nonetheless, Testone was in the bottom three again. This was not well received by the judges, as Jennifer Lopez explained, "I’m not happy. It's not fair. Great performances should be rewarded. She was one of the best last night."
In the top ten round, Testone sang Billy Joel's "Vienna" and received a standing ovation from the judges. After spending two weeks in the bottom three, Testone was declared "safe" when the voting results were announced. Testone received a second consecutive standing ovation for her performance of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" in the top nine round, which critics considered to be her signature moment of the season. After seeing Testone rehearse before the performance, celebrity mentor Stevie Nicks enthusiastically stated, "If I needed a singer, I'd hire her in a second."
In the top six round, Testone performed Queen's "I Want It All" and The Jimi Hendrix Experience's "Bold as Love". The show's record producer mentor Jimmy Iovine called Testone "a great singer who makes bad [song] choices." She defended her song choices stating, "Those were the best choices for me, but probably the majority of people at home want to be able to sing along."
Testone was eliminated on April 26, 2012, finishing the competition in sixth place.
|Episode||Theme||Song choice||Original artist||Order #||Result|
|Audition||Auditioner's Choice||"Get It While You Can"||Janis Joplin||N/A||Advanced|
|Hollywood Round, Part 1||First Solo||"Virtual Insanity"||Jamiroquai||N/A||Advanced|
|Hollywood Round, Part 2||Group Performance||"Some Kind of Wonderful"||Soul Brothers Six||N/A||Advanced|
|Hollywood Round, Part 3||Second Solo||Not aired||N/A||Advanced|
|Las Vegas Round||Songs from the 1950s
|"The Night Has a Thousand Eyes"||Bobby Vee||N/A||Advanced|
|Final Judgment||Final Solo||"It's a Man's Man's Man's World"||James Brown||N/A||Advanced|
|Top 25 (12 Women)||Personal Choice||"One and Only"||Adele||12||Advanced|
|Top 13||Whitney Houston||"I'm Your Baby Tonight"||Whitney Houston||2||Saved1|
|Top 11||Year They Were Born||"Let's Stay Together"||Al Green||4||Bottom 32|
|Top 10||Billy Joel||"Vienna"||Billy Joel||5||Safe|
|Top 9||Their Personal Idols||Trio "Landslide" / "Edge of Seventeen" / "Don't Stop"
with Colton Dixon & Phillip Phillips
|Fleetwood Mac / Stevie Nicks||3||Safe|
|Solo "Whole Lotta Love"||Led Zeppelin||12|
|Top 8||Songs from the 1980s||Solo "I Want to Know What Love Is"||Foreigner||2||Bottom 33|
|Duet "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around"
with Phillip Phillips
|Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty||8|
|Top 7||Songs from the 2010s||Duet "Somebody That I Used to Know"
with Phillip Phillips
|Gotye feat. Kimbra||3||Bottom 34|
|Solo "You and I"||Lady Gaga||10|
|Top 75||Songs from Now & Then||"No One"||Alicia Keys||3||Bottom 32|
|"Let's Get It On"||Marvin Gaye||10|
|Top 6||Queen||"I Want It All"||Queen||4||Eliminated|
|Contestant's Choice||"Bold as Love"||The Jimi Hendrix Experience||10|
- ^Note 1 When Ryan Seacrest announced the results for this particular night, Testone was the female contestant with the lowest number of votes. Between Testone and Jeremy Rosado, the male contestant with the lowest number of votes, the judges decided to eliminate Rosado and save Testone.
- ^Note 2 When Ryan Seacrest announced the results for this particular night, Testone was among the Bottom 3, but was declared safe first.
- ^Note 3 When Ryan Seacrest announced the results for this particular night, Testone was among the Bottom 3 but declared safe second, as DeAndre Brackensick was eliminated.
- ^Note 4 When Ryan Seacrest announced the results for this particular night, Testone was among the Bottom 3 but declared safe second, as Jessica Sanchez received the lowest amount of votes and was saved by the judges.
- ^Note 5 Due to the judges using their one save on Jessica Sanchez, the Top 7 remained intact for another week.
Her journey through American Idol made her realize that rock genre is her forte. While on American Idols LIVE! Tour 2012, Testone intends to write songs for her album that would include elements of rock, blues, jazz, soul, and funk. Following her elimination, Testone appeared on various talk shows, including Good Day L.A., The Today Show, Anderson, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Testone and fellow contestant Colton Dixon performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on April 27, 2012. Testone also performed on Live! with Kelly on April 30, 2012 with a rendition of Adele's "One and Only". She treated Access Hollywood viewers to a reprise of "Let's Stay Together" by Al Green.
At the start of 2013, the singer gathered a number of local Charleston musicians to begin recording her debut album. Self-produced and focussing on her own songs, Testone used a varied of genres to express her personal experiences. Testone released her debut album, In This Life on February 11, 2014. In January 2015 she moved to New York, where she works as a vocal coach. In the same year she released the single "Now" while she continues to tour.
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions||Sales|
|In This Life||—||—||—|
As lead artist
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|2014||"I Will Not Break"||—||In This Life|
|2015||"Help Me"||—||Non-album single|
As featured artist
|Year||Single||Artist||Peak chart positions||Album|
|2011||"In a Sense"||Man on Fire||—||Chrysalis|
|"A (Post Apocalyptic) Bedtime Story"||—|
|2012||"All for You"||Emotive||—||Non-album single|
|"Gravity, Pt. 2"||Man on Fire||—||Non-album single|
|2015||"Over the Rainbow"||Kevin West||—||Non-album single|
|2014||"I Will Not Break"||David Keller|
- Gale, Heather (March 6, 2012). "Elise Testone turning CCU, Myrtle Beach into 'Idol' fans". ListenUp Myrtle Beach. Archived from the original on March 11, 2012. Retrieved March 6, 2012.
- Lesemann, T. Ballard. "Best Tribute". Charleston City Paper. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
- Prufer, Mona (February 2, 2012). "Vote for CCU's own Elise Testone on 'American Idol'". The Atheneum. Retrieved May 4, 2012.
- Oliver, David (2012-04-27). "Elise Testone 'sings outside the lines'". Idol Chatter. USAToday.com. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
- Testone, Elise. "Tweet". Twitter.
- Serjeant, Jill (April 27, 2012). "Not my time to go, says ousted "Idol" Elise Testone". Reuters. Retrieved April 27, 2012.
- Thompson, Bill (March 2, 2012). "Local musician Elise Testone advances to finals on 'American Idol'". The Post and Courier. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
- Kolton, Tara (February 20, 2012). "Kinnelon grad singing her way to the top". NorthJersey.com. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
- margaret (2008-11-26). "24/7 with Elise Testone, Charleston, SC". Skirt! Charleston. Skirt.com. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
- Booth, Jared (October 19, 2011). "Elise Testone and the Freeloaders". Charleston City Paper. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
- "Elise Testone: Killin It". Holy City Sinner. February 29, 2012. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
- Thompson, Bill (February 15, 2012). "Local 'American Idol' contestant Elise Testone just wants to perform". The Post and Courier. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
- Robinson, Katrina (2011-06-07). "Profile of local singer/songwriter Elise Testone". The Digitel Charleston. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
- Gray, Stanfield (June 2011). "Sound Control". Charleston Magazine. Retrieved March 5, 2012.
- Lesemann, T. Ballard (October 19, 2011). "The winners of the 2011 City Paper Music Awards". Charleston City Paper. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
- Scott, Jason (2012-04-30). "Elise Testone - One and Only - Live with Kelly! - Video". American Idol. Rickey.org. Archived from the original on 2013-04-15. Retrieved 2012-04-30.
- American Idol. "Elise Testone - American Idol". American Idol. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
- Oliver, David (March 9, 2012). "Jeremy Rosado had 'gut feeling' about elimination". USA Today. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
- Halperin, Shirley; Medina, Portia (2012-03-15). "'American Idol's Jessica Sanchez and Elise Testone Get Ringing Endorsement from 'X Factor's' Chris Rene (Video)". TV Shows. The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- O’Donnell, Kevin (March 14, 2012). "American Idol Airs Jermaine Jones's Elimination for Legal Trouble". People.com. Retrieved March 18, 2012.
- Parker, Lyndsey (March 15, 2012). "'American Idol' Top 11 Results: Girls' Night OUT". Music. Yahoo Music. Retrieved March 18, 2012.
- Staff report (March 22, 2012). "Charleston Singer Survives 'Idol' Cut". The Post and Courier. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
- Farber, Jim (March 21, 2012). "'American Idol:' Contestants tackle New York". New York Daily News. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
- Haire, Chris (March 23, 2012). "Elise Testone makes it into the top 9 on Idol". Charleston City Paper. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
- Associated Press (March 29, 2012). "Elise Testone, Joshua Ledet channel Led Zeppelin, Mariah Carey on 'American Idol'". American Idol News. CTV.ca. Archived from the original on May 1, 2012. Retrieved April 20, 2012.
- Booth, Jared (2012-04-27). "Elise Testone's Top Five Moments on American Idol". Music+Clubs. Charleston City Paper. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
- Graham, Adam (April 26, 2012). "No Surprise On 'American Idol': Elise Testone Exits". MTV. Retrieved May 1, 2012.
- Miller, Victoria Leigh (Apr 27, 2012). "American Idol' Top 6 Results". News. Yahoo OMG. Archived from the original on 2012-07-18. Retrieved Apr 27, 2012.
- "Elise Testone, Brandy Neelly, Lauren Gray, Danny Pate, Erica Young/AMERICAN IDOL GROUP DAY". YouTube.com. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
- ""American Idol" latest castoff – Elise Testone". myFOXla.com. April 27, 2012. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
- Boyer, Matthew (2012-05-02). "American Idol 2012: Elise Testone Media Tour Clips". American Idol. American Idol Net. Retrieved 2012-05-02.
- AndersonCooper.com (2012-04-30). "'Idol' Castoff Elise Testone on Who She Thinks Will Win". Previews. AndersonCooper.com. Archived from the original on 2012-05-06. Retrieved 2012-04-30.
- "Thursday's Talk Shows". Entertainment. Los Angeles Times. May 2, 2012. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
- "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Idol's Colton and Elise (VIDEO)". TV. Hulu.com. Retrieved 2012-04-28.[permanent dead link]
- AccessHollywood.com. "Elise Testone Sings 'Let's Stay Together' After 'Idol' Elimination". AccessHollywood.com. Retrieved 2012-05-02.
- "Charleston Mag" Stratton Lawrence, 'The Charleston Profile: Elise Testone Takes Flight', Charleston Magazine, August 2013.
- Younkins, Tamara. "Elise Testone releases new single and readies post-Idol disc". Charleston City Paper. Retrieved 2016-02-26.
- Darlington, Abigail. "Singing sensation Testone leaving James Is. for NYC's bright lights". Post and Courier. Retrieved 2016-11-25.
- Darlington, Abigail. "Catching up with Elise Testone After her big move, singer reflects on new experiences in the Big Apple". Post and Courier. Retrieved 2016-11-25.
- "Elise Testone - Now (audio) (premiere)". PopMatters. Retrieved 2016-11-25.
- "Elise Testone Details Upcoming Winter Tour". JamBase. 2016-02-04. Retrieved 2016-11-25.