Is the best young singer in the nation from New Jersey?
Three Garden State natives are among the finalists competing nationally on two separate singing competitions, NBC's The Voice and Fox's American Idol.
Former Kinnelon resident Elise Testone came close to elimination Thursday night on American Idol, finishing in the bottom two slots when all of the votes from viewers of the program were tallied. But the three Idol judges, singers Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler and music producer Randy Jackson,
Testone is a 2001 graduate of Kinnelon High School who went to college in North Carolina and remained there after graduation. Although she's been forbidden from talking to the press after making the final 13 list on Idol,
South Jersey's Jermaine Jones, from Pine Hill in Camden County, has already flirted with disaster, getting cut from the show several weeks ago before the judges changed their minds and invited him back as a wild card contestant. At 6'8" tall, Jones would stand out in almost any crowd, but his baritone voice has made him an Idol standout and he avoided the bottom slots in Thursday's voting.
If you've noticed Charlotte Sometimes on NBC's The Voice, you may not have recognized her as 2006 Wall High School grad Jessica Poland.
So far, all of the episodes of The Voice that have aired were taped late last fall, so we don't know how far she makes it on the show. Unlike on "Idol," Poland is allowed to communicate with the press, so she teased Wall Patch editor Keith Brown by saying that she is headed back to Los Angeles, though she could not confirm that it was to appear on the show.
No singer from New Jersey has ever won American Idol or The Voice, although 2007 Idol Jordin Sparks grew up in Ridgewood, while her father, Phillippi Sparks, played cornerback for the New York Giants.