Elise Testone Earned J.Lo’s ‘Respect’ On ‘American Idol’

Jennifer Lopez calls latest castoff a ‘fighter’ for speaking her mind during the show.
By James Montgomery, with reporting by Christina Garibaldi

Elise Testone

Photo: MTV News

Elise Testone’s ouster from “American Idol” last week wasn’t exactly shocking — after all, she’d practically built “a vacation home” in the bottom three (thanks Jimmy Iovine!). But that doesn’t mean she ever really expected to go home either.

“I never really allowed myself to think about it,” Testone told MTV News. “But, you know, it happened. I don’t take it to heart; it’s a TV show, you know? It’s dramatic. People agree, they don’t agree. No matter what you do, people are going to respect you and people aren’t.”

It’s telling that Testone mentioned the whole agree/disagree thing, mostly because, during her time on the show, it seemed like the “Idol” judges could never truly agree on their critiques of her performances. And, of course, that led to Testone frequently disagreeing with their assessments. And now, much like fellow castoff Erika Van Pelt, she’s letting her displeasure about that fact be known.

“I can look at it like they’re contradicting themselves, or it could be mistaken for I’m just not finding the balance,” she said. “So, they’ll bring one thing to your attention, and then they’ll pull back and they’ll bring another thing to your attention, [and] that might contradict the other thing, but it’s probably because I’m not balancing out the advice that they’re giving, if that makes any sense. Sometimes it didn’t make sense. … I have to say my least-favorite comment was ‘Elise is back!’ because I’m like, ‘I really never went anywhere.'”

Still, Testone said she’s eternally grateful for her time on “Idol” — she mentioned bonding with Stevie Nicks as a highlight, joking, “She’s basically my best friend at this point” — and added that she’s exiting with her head held high, mostly because she never was afraid to speak her mind.

“[I talked to the judges] on a few occasions, especially J.Lo,” she said. “I was like, ‘Are you mad at me? I’m not trying to talk back in a rude way!’ It’s just that, being older, and knowing the direction I want to go in, I feel comfortable. Maybe because of my experience with music or my age, I thought I could talk to [the judges]. And I thought that people would respect that in a way, like, ‘This girl is speaking up for herself, trying to figure out a clear answer.’

“And Jennifer was OK with that,” she continued. “She was like, ‘No, I totally understand. I like that you’re a fighter and you stand up for what you believe in. That makes me respect you more.’ She always says she respects me as an artist, so that’s great.”

Get your “Idol” fix on MTV News’ “American Idol” page, where you’ll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.

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