Given a lukewarm rapport with the judges and a removal from the demographics that have excelled on “American Idol” in recent years, Elise Testone’s run was undoubtedly impressive. Save for one or two acclaimed performances, there was little reason to expect such staying power from the raspy-voiced singer.

But, ultimately, winning was out of the question given the presence of demographically-beloved Skylar Laine and Phillip Phillips, judge darlings Jessica Sanchez and Joshua Ledet and charming underdog Hollie Cavanagh. And, indeed, her journey came to an end Thursday night.

Elise’s elimination was far from surprising, but the placement of Hollie Cavanagh and Skylar Laine in the bottom three definitely told a story regarding the state of the competition. Both, particularly Hollie, received strong marks Wednesday (Hollie received her first judges’ standing ovatoin), and so their low vote totals serve to remind of the difficulty they will face in reaching the finale.

Of course, previous seasons have brought at least one more “shock” at this point in the competition, so it certainly would not be surprising if one of the other three–Sanchez, Phillips and Ledet–ended up exiting prior to at least one of them.

Thus far, Phillips is the only contestant to have avoided the bottom three.

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