Pia Toscano Was Definitely The Best Singer On Friday’s ‘Tonight Show With Jay Leno’

Apr 10th, 2011 // 9 Comments

While by now the world is well aware that Pia Toscano is not the next American Idol, she is now eligible to join the equally-illustrious ranks of musicians who also failed to nab the competition’s top prize, like the none-too-shabby Adam Lambert and Jennifer Hudson. The booted songbird was admirably humble during her brief interview with Jay Leno Friday night before showing off the powerful pipes that topped our Power List for so long — but alas, no more. Catch Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe’s thoughts on the uproar (and how it may affect Season 11) along with Pia’s Tonight Show appearance below.

As shocked as everyone (except Pia) was by the elimination, in a way this might be the best thing that could have happened to her. Now everyone is sympathizing with her and cheering her on, and people will definitely have their eye on whatever she does next (in a way they might not have had she been voted off later). Besides, these kinds of upsets are what make riveting (if sometimes frustrating) television.

Do you think producers should change the format of the show to make American Idol safer for talents like Pia Toscano? Or is the democratic voting process integral to the competition? Let us know what you think.

  1. I’ve watched American Idol for several seasons and have often been surprised and shocked by the outcome of voting, but never as shocked as when Pia was voted off. She surely did not deserve to be let go.

    It seems clear to me the reason shocking, unfair and invalid things happen is because of American Idol’s voting system.

    American Idol could easily make the results reflect what voters really want by changing the voting so that *everyone* votes for “who they think should be let go” instead of “who their favorite is”!

    Let me explain why I think shocking, unfair and invalid things happen.

    Suppose, for example, Scottie is the favorite among the majority of Americans. Because of that, most voters will vote for him – say 95%. That leaves 5% of the votes which must be split between the rest of the contestants. Let’s say 4.9% of vote goes to the next most favorite contestant. As that process continues, only a fairly small number of votes are left for the rest of the contestants and the results as to who gets the fewest votes are almost purely random, and do not reflect who Americans think should be let go.

    If American Idol were to ask those who voted the most for one of the contestants, who they think should have been let go, I would bet almost none of them would have said Pia.

    American Idol’s voting system needs to be changed if they ever want to get true and valid results about who voters think should be let go! American Idol is not asking the right question! Yes, they are finding out who is the most favorite contestant, but they are not finding out who voters think should be let go because they are not asking that question!

    If American Idol asked *everyone* who they think should be let go, then I am convinced they will get a true and valid result. That’s the only way they will get a true and valid answer to that question, and that’s the only fair and reasonable way to do it!

    I hope American Idol will make this change to their voting system. If they make the change I am suggesting, I am sure they will not continue to have these kinds of unfair and invalid results.

  2. Mary Marson

    I think they need to change the voting system. One vote per household. I was looking forward to seeing Pia grow on the show–with her showmanship. The fact that Paul, Jacob and Hailey are still there and Pia’s not is crazy!!! I’m not looking forward to watching the show at all now. I’m going to tape it, if I even do that, and watch it at my leisure.

  3. Bill Mitchell

    I have one question. After a great show Wednesday night, why no announcement on how many votes were cast? Did voting actually drop after one of the most entertaining shows of the season? Why so mum Ryan?

    Not to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but technology does make mistakes, servers do malfunction and databases do get corrupted. Pia was never B3 and suddenly she is gone despite MUCH weaker opponents?

    Vegas was paying 30:1 if Pia left and just 3:2 if Stefano left. Pia was a 2:1 favorite to win the whole thing. Her leaving in 9th place was the betting equivalent of a mule with a broken leg winning the Kentucky Derby over Secretariat. Even Dial Idol had Pia safe and in the green. Dial Idol has never had someone green and voted off this early in the season. NEVER.

    YouTube you say? Go on YouTube and compare Stefano’s video hits to Pia’s. Compare anyone’s to Pia’s. Scotty’s best video had about 700k hits while Pia’s had almost 1 million. So the girl with by far the most video hits on YouTube gets voted off 9th? Hmmm.

    All I am saying is that there are a number of things which don’t seem to add up and when things don’t add up, it’s because they don’t add up.

  4. Bill Mitchell

    As long as idol allows ONLY AT&T customers to “power-text” (the ability to send 10 votes at a time every 10 seconds for 2 hours – do the math) Idol will NEVER again be a measure of the eventual winner’s future success. The texting used to be acceptable because sending texts was expensive. But now a solitary 15 year old girl can vote over 7,000 times for Scotty which cancels out 700 fans voting 10 times by phone for Pia. Can Sprint or Verizon customers do that? No they can’t. Perhaps we should change the name to “AT&T Idol” the same way they name sports stadiums?

    Add to this the fact that Idol’s own rules prohibit the use of any technology which allows voting en masse and you get a feel for the level of corruption at the top here. Idol is willing to cheat just so they can announce 10′s of millions of votes. What they don’t say is that 80% of the votes are coming for 20% of the fans.

    Think I’m wrong. Ask Kris Allen, you’ll find him on stage at the county fair.

  5. Bill Mitchell

    Last comment, I promise :)

    Even Ryan knows Idol is screwed. Did you here him BEGGING America to still watch the show next week? He knows that Pia had a lot of fans that only vote 10 times and that idol viewership may suffer greatly by her early removal. Why should I still watch idol when I can see better talent live at the local bar?

  6. Elizabeth in NY

    I think this is a great idea… vote for who needs to be eliminated. Pia has wanted this for so long, I think she was cheated. On the other hand, I have no doubts that the offers have already started coming in. She has a fantastic talent and a personality to match. I’m going to miss hearing her on idol, but I can’t wait for her CD’s to hit the stores.

  7. Pia toscano is the only reason I even watched the show…

  8. I don’t think “vote to eliminate” is a good idea. That way a talented, but polarizing contestant would be one of the first voted out (Adam Lambert for example). And the winner would always be someone middle of the road and safe. I mean sure, even now the winners are like that, but still. The number of fans should matter more, because they are the ones that buy albums after the season is over.

    I do think power voting is a big problem. Over the last few years I came to the conclusion that while Idol is a family show, the voters are mostly females of all ages. I think the biggest group are 35-60 years old females that gravitate to a certain type of a contestant: male, white, in mid twenties, singing a certain type of rock (classic rock, alternative rock, grunge, soft rock, pop/rock) or country or another non-mainstream genre, singer-songwriter, instruments player, etc. These females pick their favorite(s) and power vote for hours every Wednesday night. They have time and know how to get unlimited texting for cheap.

    So when the semifinalists are announced, it’s pretty easy to point out contestants that have most of qualities mentioned above. Once TOP 12/13 are chosen, you can further predict which contestants will go far.

    This year, James Durbin is the one that ticks most of the boxes, IMO. He is playing the game, imitating Lambert. His weak points: his personality and the fact he is from California.
    Casey Abrams is the non-mainstream guy with no chance to be a commercial success after the show. But he is interesting as a contestant (like Taylor Hicks). He is seen as a musician, an artist and the fact his vocals can’t compare to most of the other contestants is overlooked. Sure, Casey was already voted off once and saved. So I guess he could leave at any time. oh yeah, I think he is also from California?
    Then we have Paul McDonald, southern guy, indie type, southern rock/Americana/blues/country/whatever type. He also appeared in bottom 3 recently, so he might not get that far. His vocals are weak (nodules).

    Then we have two adorable southern country kids: Scotty and Lauren. Both fresh faced, have personalities, good vocalists. Lauren’s problem is that she is a girl, but she was heavily featured in the pre-voting rounds, so for now, she is safe.

    I will be honest, I don’t think we can call any female contestant on Idol a frontrunner. Maybe if we only talk about talent. But as far as the voting goes, nope. Pia is the 5th female in a row to be eliminated since TOP 13 finals began. Even the show is not helping this matter – they saved the first male on the chopping block (Casey). But there is no save for a girl. Girls are no less talented than the guys, they just don’t appeal to the power voters enough. Even if voters like them, they don’t have the passion to power vote for them for two hours straight. Jordin Sparks will probably be the last female to win American Idol.

    Season 7 had to males in TOP 2, but at least Syesha was third and further down it was pretty even (5 guys, 5 girls on tour).
    Season 8 was a total sausagefest, semifinal system favored the guys. only 3 girls in TOP 10, 1 girl in TOP 6.
    Season 9 was supposed to be a girls year, but the first three TOP 12 finalists eliminated were girls, then they used a save on Big Mike in TOP 9, again on the first guy on the chopping block. Two girls in TOP 6, 1 in TOP 5. Crystal was a standout as far as talent goes in a very poor season, but still, she lost to a guy that totally bombed in the final.

    Season 10…. First 5 eliminated in TOP 13 are girls. We started with 7 girls and 6 guys. All 6 guys are still there, but only 2 girls remain. 2 girls in TOP 8.

    I don’t know, I understand that usually males have more luck in this type of shows, but I think it’s about time that American Idol changes the voting system somehow. Or, maybe they should just announce that girls shouldn’t even bother auditioning. Let’s see how a season with TOP 24 males would go.

  9. jane

    One of the problems is that they show certain contestants heavily in the auditions and come into the competition with a large fanbase. Try and find Pia or Jacob’s auditions. You cannot, they were not featured, until Jacob did God bless the child, we never saw him. Lauren, was given the most airtime, she had thousands of facebook fans before the competition started. Pia came in fresh and had to develop her fans. All top 24 should be given equal facetime so that it is fair. Scotty was given a fortune of airtime, not as much as Lauren (their chosen one). This week the judges will rave about Lauren, because they need a female to stay. Steve always begins with “you know I love you”. Randy has been lukewarm about her, but this week watch the praise begin. I know this show so well and the way the viewers are manipulated to try and get their chosen outcome.

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