Senior Elisheva Desser appears on American Idol

Elisheva Desser arrives on the set of American Idol. She participated in the 20th season that was hosted in Texas. 
Photo credit: Elisheva Desser’s Instagram account.

Elisheva Desser arrives on the set of American Idol. She participated in the 20th season that was hosted in Texas. Photo credit: Elisheva Desser’s Instagram account.

She released her first EP at only sixteen years old under the name Caleny, then senior Elisheva Desser brought her talent to the stage seen all across the country. In October of 2021, the filming for the 20th season of American Idol started, featuring Loudoun County’s own music star. 

“Going on American Idol was always something I wanted to do since I was a kid,” Desser said. “Over the summer an ad for it popped up on my screen and I was like ‘why not try out?’”

Desser’s musical experience runs long throughout her life, starting with her writing songs at the age of four. 

As she got older, family friends like Beckah Shae, an American Christian-pop singer/songwriter, and music producer Jack Shocklee, helped Desser create her EP “Sixteen” in Nashville. 

Desser’s most popular song, “Freedom’s A Fight”, has 12,364 plays on Spotify. 

“I was driven to get onto the show because I knew it would be good experience and exposure for my music,” Desser said. “I signed up that day and waited to hear back on the audition time.”

American Idol has been filming since 2002 and many aspiring musicians got their start on the show. Every year American Idol goes to a different state to be produced, and this year it was stationed in Texas, so Desser had to travel in order to participate. 

American Idol organized hotels for the contestants to stay at, but did not cover travel expenses. 

“My favorite moment was when a lot of the contestants would gather around the pool area and jam out,” Desser said. “Everyone would have guitars and we all really bonded.”

Surrounded by people just like her, artists hoping for a chance to break into the industry, Desser felt right at home. 

“We would go around one by one and show each other our original songs, and it was so fun,” Desser said. “I met so many talented musicians that inspired me.”

When the day of her first audition rolled around, Desser was filled with a mix of emotions. 

“I got insanely nervous,” Desser said. “The only thing I told myself to do was just smile and breathe.”

When partaking in an American Idol audition you can sing any song of your choice, either an original or a cover, for the judges. Desser chose a song she wrote at fourteen called “Sunsets.”

Regardless of her uneasiness, Desser passed and made it onto the next round. 

“It felt exhilarating!” Desser said. “I was so excited and hopeful.”

However, American Idol required more than just a song.

Desser had to make profile videos about herself which included topics like hobbies and daily routines. Desser described it as “vlogging.” 

Other events that were also included in her daily activities were photoshoots and rehearsals. 

This season of American Idol started airing on February 27 on ABC Television Network and Virginia was full of supporters for Desser. 

“My family supported me the most,” Desser said. “My field hockey team showed a lot of encouragement as well!”

Desser can’t reveal what round of American Idol she made it to yet, but she unfortunately didn’t pass on to the finals. 

The judges said she needed “more experience,” but how much more is actually necessary? 

Desser already owns an EP on Spotify that is growing in popularity, can play multiple instruments, has hands-on producing encounters, exposure to the harsh realities of the music industry, and plenty of stage time from singing at her church, Cornerstone Chapel. 

So what, exactly, is categorized as “more experience” when relating to a seventeen-year-old who already has more than most?

“I never had a vocal lesson, but they told me that proper training would help me when my voice gets worn out,” Desser said. “I learned that I definitely needed more vocal coaching.”

As she’s always done, Desser channeled her emotions from American Idol into a song that she posted on her Instagram story. 

“It was very draining and when my time there was over. It was definitely hard,” Desser said. “I really pushed myself to my limits mentally and physically.”

Music is Desser’s world and being cut left a deep mark, but she bounced back. 

“I think I showed myself how strong I really am by how I was able to recover afterwards,” Desser said.

Music is destined to be a part of Desser’s near future, as she plans to attend Belmont University to study songwriting and minor in music business. Belmont is known for its degrees in the music industry fields and is located in Nashville, Tennessee, the music capital of the United States. 

Desser is taking her time on American Idol all in stride and using it to become a stronger musician. She is eager to put out some new music and hopes her time on American Idol will bring more interest to her work already produced. 

“Caleny fans should be anticipating a new single,” Desser said. “I plan to go record the song in a few months!”