(photo courtesy of Dan-D Caricatures)
With the copious coverage, the onslaught of conspiracy theories, the public rage and the absolute shock over Pia Toscano’s curious ouster from American Idol last Thursday, there’s not really all that much that I can add.
Or is there?
Well, obviously the truth is we’ll never really know the actual reason for her departure (if you wish to believe there are far more sinister works at play than she receiving the least amount of votes). Yet despite the universal approbation (and, to be fair, she is the only Idol to receive almost consistent high grades on my Report Cards weekly), methinks the outrage is perhaps a tad too histrionic.
Pia’s consistency is unmarked, sure, as she was – and is – clearly a more accomplished vocalist than any of the remaining eight wannabes left straggling (especially the two remaining banausic female vocalists). But, despite her mostly solid weekly recital, she never – ever – gave a great vocal.
I previously reiterated (during Toscano’s lovely “All In Love Is Fair” during Motown week) my mantra that Idol perfection is always a fool’s goal. With the exception of Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia, Melinda Doolittle and Adam Lambert, no Idol had ever reached a zenith of transcendence on the Idol stage. So, flawlessness should never be expected (and, sometimes, imperfection makes for a more tangibility).
But was it wrong for viewers to command as equal an emotional connection from Toscano’s performances as their emotional investment in her? For all her forced power, Toscano displayed little ardent resonance to her song selections. With the confidence of an Olympian archer, she aimed, shot and (mostly, though never always) nailed the bull’s-eyed notes, but more often than not, because of that sturdy focus, she became her own worst inhibitor, annulling the necessary correlation between the ‘singing’ and the ‘song’ that separates the greenhorns from the greats.
That’s not to say that Toscano doesn’t have the fortitude for what it takes. And above anyone else this season (who’ve made it to the Top 12, that is) who should continue his or her strive for a Clarksonian or a Fantasian Utopia, whether he’d or she’d victor or fail, it’s definitely and defiantly Toscano. So, more power to her.
Or, rather, less power and more emotional fortitude.
Click the below picture for one of the more perfect commentaries regarding the aforementioned theories – my friend, Idol expert Jim Cantiello’s justifiable (and hilarious, I might add) reprimand to the main culprit’s in Pia’s expulsion – the judges…