It was an American Idol shocker when Pia Toscano was in the bottom three last week, but when it turned out she was the one going home with the lowest number of votes, the audience and the judges were dumbstruck.
The 22-year-old from Howard Beach, NY had been one of the top contenders in the competition and was the woman that many felt had the best voice. Now Pia talks to thehollywoodknow.com about why a medic escorted her off stage, how it was her time and what’s next.
Why do you think that the voters didn’t show up for you?
Pia Toscano: I’ve been asked that question a lot, and I really don’t know. There’s no exact formula. It’s funny, because the night before I had a weird feeling in my stomach. I felt good about my performance. I tried something different; I had a blast doing it. I said to my parents, “I kind of feel like I’m going to be in the bottom three tomorrow.” They said, “No, no, be confident. You’re going to be fine. You’re going to be fine.” Then when it happened, it was kind of like … I don’t know, I kind of like expected it. It was weird.
On the social media, you have pretty much everybody from Tom Hanks to Snooki from Jersey Shore completely devastated and shocked over what’s happened. So how has it been for you, getting in all this support from famous faces?
Pia Toscano: It’s amazing. I mean, it just helps me in the situation. It’s not that I was shocked or anything like that, I was just upset to be leaving the contestants. I was upset that next week I wasn’t going to be able to perform again. I was just trying to stay positive and know that everything happens for a reason, but to have the support of a lot of celebrities right now, and just my fans, it’s amazing, and it’s the best feeling in the world.
Last night after the show it looked like the medic actually walked you off the stage. What happened?
Pia Toscano: Yes. I wasn’t feeling so good. It was a tough moment for me. While I was singing, it was very, very hard for me to get through that song. I was just trying to take deep breaths, and it wasn’t working out so well. I was just getting very light headed. I get a little nervous a lot of the time before I go out on stage, so to be in the position that I was in last night, it was a bit much. It was a little overwhelming for me, so I did have the medic walk me offstage, and I had a little bit of a moment. But they helped me out a lot, and I’m fine now.
Many people think you have the best voice in the competition, but the most common criticism is you simply didn’t project an exciting personality on stage. I know Jennifer Lopez sort of said that on Tuesday. How does that make you feel when you hear that type of criticism?
Pia Toscano: Well, what a lot of people don’t know about me is that I’ve been performing for a long time, but I do get kind of shy, and I get a little bit of stage fright before I go on stage, which is something I feel like everybody can relate to. It’s really intimidating to go out every week. So it’s something that I have to work on as a performer, but I’m going to do so, and I’m going to make sure for the tour that I really own that stage.
Are there positive aspects for you to your leaving the competition?
Pia Toscano: Absolutely. I mean, there are so many good things that are going to come from this experience. I’ve met so many incredible producers. Jimmy Iovine was my mentor, and he’s someone that I’ve always wanted to work with. So many doors are going to open for me. They already have. I’m just looking forward to going on tour with the other contestants. It’s really going to be great. I’m excited to see what my future holds.
One of the things that I keep hearing from people is the question: Can a woman win Idol again? We haven’t had a female winner since Jordin Sparks. The last three seasons we’ve had only two women in the top eight. I wonder if you think that because of the nature of the voting public for Idol, is it even a harder hill to climb for female contestants on the show?
Pia Toscano: Definitely. It’s anybody’s game right now. I feel like every single one of the contestants is extremely strong. They all have their own unique quality that makes them special. I could never say for sure if a girl’s going to win or a guy’s going to win, but I know each and every one the contestants that are in it right now deserve to be there.
Will you be able to watch the rest of the season and not be grinding your teeth?
Pia Toscano: I’ll be fine. I try to stay very positive about things, and I love everybody. It’s definitely a fun show to watch. When I’m backstage and I’m watching everybody perform, I’m like, “This is a great show. Like this is awesome. I can’t believe I’m a part of it.” So I’m definitely going to be rooting for everyone when I’m at home.
What is your next move? Are you planning to record an album?
Pia Toscano: I definitely see an album in my future, but I just want to get ready for the tour and just stay mentally prepared because the tour is going to be a lot, so I’ve got to be physically ready, mentally ready, and it’s just going to be a lot of fun. Then, hopefully, an album will be in my future.
What kind of music are we going to hear from you?
Pia Toscano: Definitely pop with an R&B influence, definitely those big power ballads and those fun dance tracks, as well.
Tune in tonight at 8 p.m.on FOX when American Idol’s Top Eight perform songs from the movies.