Yes, I still watch “American Idol.” I can’t help myself and at this point it’s almost nostalgic. The past few seasons have been pretty terrible, but this year, “Idol” is back—complete with shock eliminations (cue J.Lo’s angry face and tears).
There hasn’t been a true shocker since Chris Daughtry’s fourth place exit during season 5. After a five-year drought, Pia Toscano joined the ranks of Jennifer Hudson and Chris, as contestants who will be remembered for leaving too soon. I personally thought Pia was going to win. She was reminiscent of the “golden days” of “Idol,” when it was all about the powerful voice (and good looks). However, Idol’s changed over the past few years and the big-voiced female diva has been replaced by the boring white male as America’s “chosen one.”
Based on the elimination of five girls in a row this season (include the contestant with the most star potential) it’s pretty obvious who’s voting en masse—tweens and cougars. I guess you could blame it on the hormones (for both sets), but “Idol” is never going to produce another marketable winner if a David Cook, Kris Allen, or Lee DeWyze continues to win year after year.
But, enough of my “American Idol” critique. What’s Pia Toscano to do with herself now? Well, all the contestants were lucky enough to work with some people who are actually relevant in the music industry this year. Having Jimmy Iovine as a mentor and recording with producers such as Ron Fair, Rodney Jerkins and Ryan Tedder ain’t too shabby. I’m sure Iovine has already been in talks with Pia (she was all smiles going into the Warner Music Group/Elektra Records building today) and having those producers on her side can’t hurt. She now has more time to work on her album (and stage presence) before the tour and get ready to release some material right after it wraps. Release a Ryan Tedder ballad (a la “Bleeding Love”) as the first single in the fall and she’s good to go.
Although I was a little perturbed by Pia’s elimination last night, I’ve decided it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to her. The public is rooting for her to “win” more now than when she was actually competing on the show. In a matter of minutes, she went from being the top dog to the underdog, which America loves. Given the current voting pattern, I doubt she would have won, and going in fourth or fifth place, wouldn’t have been as much of an injustice. It evokes even more sympathy for her considering some really questionable talent is still there. She’s received an outpouring of support from celebrities and “Idol” alum (including Twitter blessings from Daughtry and Hudson) and more media coverage than any contestant this season. She’s also handled everything very graciously and based on what I’ve seen, is saying all the right things in her post-elimination interviews. Although the hype is sure to die down, I’m sure Pia’s return on the finale will be a highly anticipated spectacle. She needs to give the performance of her life that night, to both remind the public of what could have been, and stay in the nation’s conscience for a little while longer.
All in all, “Idol” got another memorable TV moment for the first time in years and Pia’s poised to join the ranks of past shock eliminees. Everybody wins.
P.S. The only two contestants left on the show with any potential of stardom are Lauren Alaina and Scotty Mcreery. While neither of them truly have remarkable voices, Nashville will eat them up.