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Life After ‘American Idol’ Elimination: Could Pia Toscano Be ‘Robbed by the Label’?

Life After ‘American Idol’ Elimination: Could Pia Toscano Be ‘Robbed by the Label’?

On the Apr. 7, 2011 results episode of “American Idol,” Pia Toscano, the New York City 22-year-old woman whom many, even the show’s panelists—Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler—thought was good enough to perhaps be the long-running hit TV show’s winner for the season, had the least amount of votes and was eliminated, thus finishing her in 9th place.

Pia Toscano

Say what you want about what caused Pia’s surprise elimimation, which left the “Idol” panel in a state of shock and disbelief, and prompted some viewers to comment online that they weren’t going to watch “Idol” again, as typically happens when a perceived favorite gets bumped at an unexpected time.

One male viewer told Radar Online that his wife had trouble casting a vote for Pia online through the “Idol” website [which includes a Facebook app to initiate such voting], a charge that was refuted in the same article by an unnamed staffer, who claimed nothing went wrong with the voting process.


Also,, which according to its website, is known for “measuring the busy signal” based on toll-free phone numbers for each “Idol” contestant, had Pia ranked 3rd on their scoring system, which may have suggested she was going to continue, but as imperfect as that system was, and because “Idol’s” voting process also includes text messages and, more recently, online votes, it could be argued that not as many voted via the non-traditional phone-in methods as those who did vote by phone for Pia.

Even Shirley Halperin of the trade publication “Hollywood Reporter” came up with some theories about why about Pia was eliminated, ranging from “girls don’t like girls” [because they are most of the show’s viewers] to Randy, Paula, and Steven being too positive on her [my opinion, but if Simon Cowell were still on the panel, perhaps he would’ve been more “brutally honest” toward Pia], to viewers thinking she’s a shoo-in to win that they back off voting for her [which can, and has been known to, happen on “Idol”].

American Idol Contestant – Pia Toscano

But, safe for a live arena tour with the other “Idol” finalists this summer, no sooner was Pia eliminated than Us Magazine, citing “unnamed sources,” reported that she was in the process of signing a recording contract with Jimmy Iovine, who runs the Interscope label division of market-leading Universal Music Group and serves as a sort of technical adviser to the aforementioned finalists.

While Jennifer Hudson may have finished 7th on “American Idol” back in 2004, yet still parlayed it into her being a successful and award-winning singer and actress, what’s to say the same will happen to Pia Toscano? The mere thought of her getting a record deal prompted someone to ask on the Us Magazine website that if Pia “was really that unpopular based on a public vote, why would a record label risk money to make an album people won’t buy?”

This same person also raised the issue that “Idol,” and the companies involved with it, “make money off of people chasing their dreams especially when they sign one of these victims to a sleazy record deal where [the] signer will be robbed by the label for years to come. I wish Pia the best of luck and hope her parents are smart enough to make sure she has a great lawyer.”

“Robbed by the label.”  It, too, can, and has been known to, happen. I’ve blogged about it before. Far be it for me to predict that Pia will be in the same boat, but when the latest album by Britney Spears managed to top the charts in its debut week despite selling just over a quarter-million copies—about half what her previous album did—I wouldn’t be surprised if she does end up as another victim, particularly if her album doesn’t top the charts. Just because 20 million watch “Idol” doesn’t always mean success after the show.

Better yet, why should she bother with a major label that could possibly deny her of earnings from sales of her recordings?  It’s one thing to sing cover songs on a hit TV show watched by 20 million viewers, but another to sing songs that others would write and produce for her, at great risk and expense from a major label, with the writers, producers and label making the vast majority of the money, while the singer ends up with little to nothing for her trouble, even if she sells a million copies. I wish Pia lots of luck, but my feeling is that she’ll learn, the hard way, how difficult being on a major label can be, after the relative, though fleeting, easiness of instant “Idol” fame.

Do you think Pia will end up being “robbed by the label”?

[Photo Credit: AMERICAN IDOL: TOP 24: Pia Toscano, 22, Howard Beach, NY. CR: Michael Becker / FOX]

About the Author

Steve Byrd Steve has worked in everything from restaurants to radio sports production, and gives a perspective that's slightly above that of the average person about how the Internet has been an entertainment game-changer. You can regularly find Steve chiming in on a variety of online music-radio shows, as he often sits in the chat room as “information guru” during webcasts.

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