'American Idol': Elise Testone says her reality TV days are over
"I never really was a huge fan of [reality TV] in the beginning, and everyone was shocked that I did it, but I'm glad I did," she confesses to Zap2it backstage after her elimination on the Top 6 results show.
After her encore performance of "Whole Lotta Love," Testone reveals that all three judges had nothing but kind words. "[ Jennifer Lopez] was saying she really respects me as an artist and she thinks I'm awesome and just to keep persevering," she says. " Steven [Tyler] said he fell in love with me."
No, not in that way. "Don't take it literally," she laughs.
But despite the encouragement, Testone doesn't feel she always got great advice from the judges.
"I'd like to say that they were [helpful], but I don't really feel that way, I'm sorry. I feel bad about that," she says, and insists that she doesn't mean that in a bad or cocky way. "It's just different for me. I mean I'm 28, so I'm young, but I've had [tons of experience performing] just because of how much I've done and crammed into the day, not even sleeping sometimes. So I've learned so much, and some things that they say don't line up with what I feel like I've learned on my own."
She continues: "I didn't always feel like it was helpful, or some stuff [they said] I already knew. I'm not saying I'm the best and I know everything -- I hope I don't sound that way -- sometimes it was helpful, but for the most part I don't think it always made sense and I think it's hard to judge someone ... in such a short amount of time in that kind of situation. It's hard to judge someone and tell people who they are when you don't even know who they are."
But don't think she's bitter about her exit. She knew it was coming, and she has no regrets. "I feel like my brain is just wired in a way to accept everything that happens. So as soon as [Ryan Seacrest] said my name, it's almost like I heard him say it before he said it, and I just accepted it immediately. I was like 'Okay, well now I've got to do my best [on the exit song].'"
And who does she have her money on now that she's out of the competition? " I honestly don't [know who will win]. I was thinking about it before. I thought I was going to win, and I was wrong!"
When she gets back to her adopted hometown of Charleston, S.C., she plans to keep working hard, maybe teach some more singing lessons or open up a music school. "I love working with the students and the kids and being a mentor to them," she says.
Oh, and clean her house. "I really want to clean my apartment -- I just keep picturing dust. I don't know if the girl who's staying there is doing it or not. I mean I think she is, but that's bothering me a lot!"
First, though, she's going to play with her dog. "The first thing I'm going to do is see my dog because he almost died and now he's better, so I'm going to take him to the park and just watch him run around."