The frenzy of the “American Idol” competition is over for Mount Pleasant’s Elise Testone. Not that she has had much time to unwind.
Testone’s personal appearance schedule representing the popular TV show as one of its Top 10 finalists has just begun, and with a 48-city “Idol” national tour set to begin in July, you’d expect her to be feeling the strain.
Not so. If anything, she’s thriving on it.
“Just some of the programs I’ve appeared on in the last week have been the ‘Today’ show, ‘Anderson Cooper,’ ‘Jay Leno,’ ‘Ellen,’ ‘Access Hollywood’ and ‘Good Day L.A.,’?” she said from Los Angeles on Friday. “And though the TV experience is not one I’d gone through before ‘American Idol,’ I’m enjoying it.”
Being in front of an audience — in a studio or seen by millions on TV — turns out to be old hat for the music teacher and soon-to-be recording artist.
“I’ve always felt like I was supposed to be doing big things in my life, like it was my responsibility to be on stage and be someone people could respect for being talented but also for being themselves.
“During the competition, I definitely would get nervous just before I stepped on stage, but actually being on stage felt like home to me. Knowing that millions of people were watching made me feel relieved. Ever since I was a child, the bigger the crowd, the more comfortable I felt.”
Testone, 28, has not wavered from what she’s said would be the most important aspect of the “Idol” experience.
“It’s the personal journey of learning a lot about yourself — and getting an extreme amount of exposure, as well. Learning how to remember who you are when floating through a situation with which you’re unfamiliar has been very important.”
Testone’s long-term commitment to giving her best in every situation, to not let events derail her from that goal, have served her in good stead, she said.
“Not just when you are performing, but at all times. It’s also about how you carry yourself and the way you interact with others. My work ethic is such that I have had a lot of extra growing pains in recent years. I’ve done twice as much work as many people my age, and that experience has helped me a lot.”
Rehearsals for the “American Idol” summer tour — which lands in the North Charleston Coliseum on Aug. 6 — begin in June, and Testone is anticipating an “insane” time of it.
Randall Goldman is among those hoping to see the North Charleston show. He is managing partner of Patrick Properties, which owns Fish restaurant, where Testone was a regular performer until last fall.
“She sang every Thursday night,” Goldman said. “She was so passionate about the craft of singing, and sometimes she would bring her students in.
“It’s fun to watch someone rise to such stardom,” he said. “She is a genuinely sweet soul.”
As much as Testone is looking forward to seeing her students at Music Unlimited here again, her No. 1 priority is cutting the disc she’s always dreamed of.
“What I really want to focus on is getting an album together. I’m in love with music, and I look at that as a main commitment. The timing had to be right and the resources had to be in place, and now they are. I’ll dive into it after the tour.”
Reach Bill Thompson at 937-5707.
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