NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Songbird Pia Toscano was eliminated from “American Idol” on Thursday, leaving the judges who had lavished praise on her in despair over the audience’s decision.
1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports: Shock and outrage in Howard Beach
The Howard Beach native wasn’t just a local favorite: the show’s judges all expressed shock and outrage at her elimination.
Randy Jackson covered his head and mouthed a repeated “No” after host Ryan Seacrest announced that Toscano received the lowest number of viewer votes after her performance Wednesday of “River Deep — Mountain High.”
Toscano, 22, managed to remain composed on stage as the judges decried the results.
“I have no idea what happened here. I’m shocked. I’m angry,” said judge Jennifer Lopez.
Steven Tyler said viewers were wrong, adding, “She’s beautiful. When she sings, she’s a bird.”
Jackson called her one of the best singers in the show’s 10th-season field and warned that “no one is safe” if votes aren’t cast for them.
“I’m never upset on this show, and I’m never really mad, but this, like, this makes me mad,” Jackson said. “What is going on?”
After choosing “I’ll Stand by You” for her swan song, Toscano was embraced by Jacob Lusk, 23, of Compton, Calif., who had landed in the bottom three vote-getters with her and Stefano Langone, 21, of Kent, Wash.
Celebrities on Twitter erupted in a chorus of disbelief at the elimination. Some of the celebs who Tweeted their support for Toscano include Alyssa Milano, Dax Shepard and Minka Kelly.
In Howard Beach, restaurants have named dishes after Toscano, including Pia a la Penne and Pia Pizza. Some people are refusing to accept that their hometown gal has been voted off the show.
“I think there should be a recount, maybe something was wrong with the phone lines,” one woman said. “They should investigate it.”
Others think the show was fixed and that Toscano was sacrificed for ratings.
“It seemed plotted almost,” another woman said.
Some may pin Toscano’s elimination on the belief that she’s a one-trick pony who only sang ballads – which was the only criticism she received in recent weeks from the judges — and choosing the up-tempo Tina Turner hit wasn’t enough to save her.
This season of “Idol” has been one of the most emotional and unpredictable in recent years. Just two weeks ago, front-runner Casey Abrams was bailed out by the judges’ one and only save after gaining the least amount of the viewers’ votes.
Toscano is moving forward. Her songs are for sale on iTunes and she will be joining the rest of the finalists in a summer tour.
“It wasn’t in my cards and everything happens for a reason, so you really just have to stay positive and thankful that I was able to have this experience,” Toscano said Friday.
Prior to landing her spot on “Idol,” Toscano won the Mets Anthem Search in 2008.
What do you think of Toscano’s elimination? Will you continue to watch “Idol?” Sound off in our comments section.