Tuesday, April 12, 2011

American Idol shocker: Don't you forget about Pia Toscano

Last week, the the judges, the audience, and the viewers including myself have witnessed what American Idol calls the most shocking elimination in American Idol history. Despite high praise from the judges, the balladeer Pia Toscano got controversially eliminated from the competition, to the shock of the judges, the studio audience, and millions of viewers, scoring ninth place. She was standing there sandwiched between two guys in the bottom three with her: Jacob Lusk and Stefano Lagone. Shortly before her elimination, Jacob Lusk was cleared for the top 8. Pia Toscano was an early favorite and a judges' favorite. On the week of her elimination, she sang "River Deep—Mountain HIgh" by Ike and Tina Turner.

Pia Ann Rose Toscano was born on October 14, 1988. She is of Italian descent. She was born and raised in Howard Beach, New York. She began to perform at talent shows at the age of four, and by the age of nine, she performed in a local church production of "Jesus Christ Superstar." She was the official National Anthem singer in her middle school, P.S./M.S. 207, and she performed at every school event including graduation ceremonies. Toscano was also the opening act for the band called Barenaked Ladies and performed with Josh Groban at Madison Square Garden.

Before her time on American Idol, Toscano worked as a makeup artist and as a wedding singer in the band called "Current Affair." Her musical influences include Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Etta James, and the late Luther Vandross.

Toscano originally auditioned for American Idol season 6, but she was cut before the top 40. In 2010, she auditioned for American Idol season 10 in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and this time she made it through to the voting rounds. During the semifinals, she impressed the judges with her rendition of "I'll Stand By You", receiving a standing ovation and earning her a spot in the top 13.

On the night after her elimination, Toscano performed on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Last Monday, she performed on Live with Regis and Kelly. Rumor has it that she fell in love with Dancing with the Stars professional dancer Mark Ballas.

This week the top 8 will perform songs from the motion pictures. I predict that either Paul McDonald or Stefano Langone will be eliminated, but Haley Reinhart is also on the chopping block.  Here is how I predict the top 8 will be placed:

Winner: James Durbin
Runner-up: Scotty McCreery
Third Place: Casey Abrams
Fourth Place: Lauren Alaina
Fifth Place: Jacob Lusk
Sixth Place: Haley Reinhart
Seventh Place: Paul McDonald
Eighth Place: Stefano Langone

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