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Throwback Thursday: Pia Toscano’s shocking ‘American Idol’ elimination

Welcome to Throwback Thursday, a weekly series showcasing an album, single, music video or performance of a bygone era and its personal and/or cultural significance.

Pia Toscano is forever immortalized as not only one of the best singers to ever compete on American Idol but as one of the most shocking early ousters in singing show history. I can still recall the rage coursing in my blood, as fellow competitors Jacob Lusk and Stefano Langone (who both comprised the bottom three that fateful night) slinked away to safety with their tails between their legs. “The person who leaves us tonight after the nationwide vote is…Pia,” host Ryan Seacrest revealed, matter-of-factly. A tidal wave of boos and hisses swept the studio. Even casual fans were outraged. “I’m gutted,” panel staple Randy Jackson lamented. Steven Tyler said it best, “A mistake is one thing…but lack of passion is unforgivable.”


Despite her pristine vocals, often cutting you like a knife, best illustrated on her standout moment, a poised and polished rendition of The Pretenders’ “I’ll Stand by You,” Toscano fell victim to complacency. She performed at such an exemplary level, out singing her fellow singers week-in and week-out, voters began throwing votes to their second favorite. Thus, Toscano wound up finishing ninth in season 10. A tragedy from which I will never fully recover. Oh, what could have been.

Relive the anger-inducing moment below:

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Jason Scott

Editor-in-Chief of the Badlands, spinning those B-Sides. Love Parks & Rec. Addicted to high-priced coffee drinks, alt-country and synth-pop, and never know when to quit. Got a cat named Jake--and she doesn't like you very much.