Local soul singer Elise Testone squeaked through another round of "American Idol" Wednesday night.
Finding herself in the Bottom 3 for the fourth time in this season, the decision came down to Testone and Jessica Sanchez. In the end, Sanchez had the least votes and could have gone home, but in a unprecedented move, the judges vote to save her.
"We are saving Jessica without any doubt," said judge Randy Jackson. "This girl is one of the best singers in America. Ever. Please everyone, vote for the best. It's about finding the best."
Testone had a strong performance, by most accounts, on Wednesday night when she performed Lady Gaga's "You and I." It was a redemption from a week earlier when she choked on stage.
Here's what the critics had to say:
"Thankfully the song choice was infinitely more flattering than her nightmare of a dress and Elise redeemed herself after a less than stellar performance last week," said Jodi Bradbury of the Christian Science Monitor. Surprisingly, Jennifer Lopez was able to put aside any hard feelings over Elise beating out her beloved DeAndre last week, and agreed with Randy and Steven's praise of Elise's performance saying, "There's nobody who can sing like you."
Her performance is "good, but it's not Joshua Ledet or Jessica Sanchez good, and I'm not sure it's even Haley Reinhart good, 'cause that was a pretty great version of the song, as I recall, wrote Brian Mansfield of USA Today. In other words, good as it was, it's not going to be enough. She'll be in trouble again."
Rumors about a "shocking" elimination abounded heading into Thursday's reveal. Gossip website TMZ promised that the judges would use their special one-time save to keep one of the strongest contestants in the race.
"This a ridiculous bottom 3, said judge Randy Jackson. "America, I have never said this ... you got it wrong tonight."
Speaking to OnTheRedCarpet.com, Judge Steven Tyler said the competition is getting too close to judge.
"Middle America is weird. But I think we've got you sold this time," Tyler said. The talent is so good that you almost can't - I can't judge it at this stage. You know, I can tell them they picked the wrong song but at this stage now, they're all good. It's up to America."
Testone, a Kinnelon, N.J., native has been popular for years on the live music scene in Charleston. She is a voice coach at a Mount Pleasant music studio. The Coastal Carolina University graduate is known for her soulful, raspy voice.
She'll perform again at 8 p.m. Wednesday on FOX. Results are revealed the following night.