Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Testone Moves on from 'Idol'

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Testone Moves on from 'Idol'

Article excerpt

A dream dashed, but disappointment be damned. There is no time for that in this new world.

The day after being eliminated on "American Idol," Elise Testone was back on the air before 7:30 a.m. Friday, talking on TV and radio shows. Her immediate schedule includes more interviews, meetings with record labels, an appearance on "Ellen," the "Idol" finale and tour rehearsals.

Life will never be the same for the Kinnelon native, who often came off on-camera as uncomfortable, argumentative, and hurt and insulted by the judges' criticisms. Even if she eventually returns to her former jobs, as a vocal coach and club singer in Charleston, S.C., her public biography will forever begin, "Elise Testone, sixth- place finisher on 'American Idol's' 11th season." What is the next sentence? What fills the chapter after this summer's "Idol" tour? How will Testone, who is clearly an independent thinker, adapt to losing artistic control? Is she ready for more public recognition and scrutiny?

"Nobody who's not been famous is quite prepared for sudden fame," said personality expert Richard Levak, who has been a casting consultant to "Survivor," "The Amazing Race," "Big Brother" and "The Apprentice."

Testone had a successful run on "Idol," despite being almost permanently one of the bottom three vote-getters since the show's Final 13 were announced in March. The 28-year-old rock-and-blues singer didn't have a typical "Idol" persona. She did not just smile and nod at the judges' critiques, and was unwilling to compromise her artistic sensibilities to win viewers' votes.

She did not audition and compete on "Idol" to become a pop star.

"The reason I signed up was because I felt this sense of responsibility toward being an idol and a role model toward the youth and people who have inspired me, specifically my students," she said by cellphone while riding in a car after a conference call with national and international media.

Much of Testone's future depends on how she handles the constant attention from the media and fans, and what she does with instruction from "Idol's" record producing team. Testone wants input on the direction of any potential album - and she has not been shy making that point in interviews with record labels. …

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