Conference call on Friday morning with Pia Toscano:
Q: Why do you think the voters didn’t show up for you?
PT: “I’ve been asked that question a lot today and I really don’t know. It’s funny cause the night before I had a weird feeling in my stomach. I felt good about my performance. I tried something different. I had a blast doing it. And I said to my parents, ‘You know, I kinda feel like I’m gonna be in the bottom three tomorrow. And they said, ‘No, no, be confident. You’re gonna be fine. You’re gonna be fine.’ And then when it happened, it was kinda like I expected it. It was weird.”
Q: And of course hindsight is 20/20 but do you think there is anything you could have done differently the last few weeks?
PT: “Absolutely not. I feel like if you make a mistake it is just helping you grow. You learn from those mistakes and I wouldn’t change a thing. I agree with all the things the judges said to me, all their constructive criticism. I’ve tried to work on my weaknesses and I will continue to do so.”
Q: The old rule that Randy always gave was don’t do Whitney, Mariah or Selena and yet you did them and scored with them. What did you think of that notion of not doing those three?
PT: “You know I like to challenge myself and to take risks. Those are singers that I have grown up listening to so I just tried my best with them and they went over well. I’m just thankful that everybody enjoyed them.”
Q: And then the judges oftentimes say do something different next week and the person does something different and they are voted off. So this was the first week you did something different, more of a rock song, and you were voted off. In retrospect do we overemphasize that do something different when you only get one song to sing?
PT: “No, It’s nobody’s fault and the judges are absolutely right, I needed to change it up. I was really excited going into this performance and I have no regrets about doing it. It wasn’t even that much out of my comfort zone. Back at home I was doing a lot of up-tempo stuff, moreso than the ballads. I had so much fun. I know I have to get more comfortable on stage. I’m a little shy sometimes and I get a little bit of stage-fright.”
Q: Which judge did you most identify with and what was the best piece of advice they gave you last night after everything happened?
PT: “I really have a connection with every single one of them – Randy, Steven and Jennifer. They have such a quality about them. They are so nurturing. But you know last night was such a blur. I was so emotional I could barely get through that last song. So, when they came up to me I was just very, very overwhelmed. They were like in shock. They said, ‘If you ever need anything just call us. We are here for you. We love you.’ They were just so supportive. I really needed that at that time.”
Q: Can you describe Jennifer in one word?
PT: “Perfection. She really is. Every constructive critique I have gotten, it helped me. She is absolutely stunning inside and out.”
Q: You have pretty much everybody from Tom Hanks to Snooki devastated by what happened. How does that make you feel that not only normal people but people you wouldn’t think would be watching Idol feeling that way about you?
PT: “It’s amazing. Like last night, it wasn’t that I was shocked that was leaving the contestants. I was upset that next week I wouldn’t be able to perform again. I was just trying to stay positive and know that everything happens for a reason. But to have the support of a lot of celebrities right now and my fans is amazing and it’s the best feeling in the world.”
Q: We all know you are going to get signed, and you are going to make an album. What sort of music will you make going forward?
PT: “I would definitely go in the pop genre with an R&B influence with those big power ballads as well and those dance hits.”
Q: When Ryan (Seacrest) said you were eliminated you were looking at the judges and I was wondering what was going through your mind and if you wished the save was still around for you.
PT: “I was just trying to stay composed. I was really emotional. It’s sad. It’s scary being up there. It can take years off your life. Oh my God, it’s terrifying. But everything happens for a reason and I looked at the judges and I don’t really know (what she was thinking) cause your mind goes blank. It was a blur at that moment and I was just emotional. It’s a hard night for me.”
Q: Are you looking forward to the Tour?
PT: “I am really looking forward to it cause it’s a much more laid-back situation. You just go out there and perform. I’m gonna do my up-tempos and I’m gonna do my ballads It’ll be a nice mix.”
Q: Most people think you have a great voice, but the most criticism I have heard is that you didn’t project the most exciting personality on stage and J-Lo pretty much said that on Tuesday. I was wondering how that makes you feel when you hear that type of criticism?
PT: “What a lot of people don’t know about me is that although I’ve been performing for a long time I’m still kinda shy and I get a little bit of stage-fright before I go on stage which I feel is something that everyone can relate to. It’s really intimidating to do that and it’s something I’ll have to work on as a performer. But I’m gonna do so and I’m gonna make sure for the Tour I’m gonna own that stage.”
Q: And do you think that plays into the issue of not getting enough votes?
PT: “It could have been. I really don’t know. I know that I gave my all the other night and I don’t have any regrets. I had a good time performing.”
Q: How do you deal with the pressure of singing in front of millions?
PT: “There definitely is a lot of pressure. A lot of deep breathing goes into it beforehand. I separate myself from everything because I get the jitters when I go live on-stage. It’s tough though.”
Q: What was it like when you got voted off and you are looking at Jennifer Lopez and she has tears streaming down her face?
PT: “That was tough for me because Jennifer has helped me so much and she’s someone that I admire and to see her so upset with the outcome of last night it just blew my mind. It wasn’t that I was in shock. I just couldn’t believe that my journey had ended on the show. It was nice to have their (the judges) support.”
Q: So you had all the judges saying this was a mistake and Ryan saying it and standing right there as Stephano. What do you think was going through his mind?
PT: “Stephano’s a very good friend of mine. He’s a good person and I feel like … I mean the whole time was sitting down with him in the Bottom 3 he was like telling me, ‘You aren’t going anywhere. I’m the one that’s goin.’ And I’m telling him, ‘No, you’re not goin.’ He deserved to be the top eight right now and he’s an incredible talent.”
Q: What did your parents say to you afterward?
PT: “You know the last time my parents were out here was for my Top 12 performance. And they had so much confidence that they thought I was gonna be here for a long time. So they were gonna let everybody in my family take the tickets but I told them to come out here cause you never know what is going to happen. You never really know who is going to go home. But I am really happy that my parents were there.”
Q: Keep hearing that a woman can’t win Idol again. We haven’t had a female winner since Jordan Sparks. I wonder if you think it’s a harder hill to climb for a female contestant?
PT: “Definitely, it’s anybody’s game right now. I don’t know if a girl or guy will win.”
Q: Now that you have been on the show was your perception of the show and it’s reality really different for you?
PT: “You know I’ve been on the show a lot. I’ve auditioned since Season 5 so it’s everything I ever dreamed it would be and more. I think the show is amazing and Ken and Nigel are the most amazing people and help you out so much and the (judges) panel was … it could not have been any better this year. Everybody just wants the best for you. They don’t want you to go home. Maybe that was the biggest surprise. I didn’t realize how much they wanted you there. They adore you and really want the best for you.”
Q: Last week both eliminated contestants (girls) talked about how the voting public, most teenage girls, vote for boys. Do you think that’s a problem with the voting?
PT: “You know, I’m sure there a lot of young girls who watch the show and vote but I don’t know, I don’t have an answer for that question.”
Q: Do you wish you had gone in as more of an underdog on the show?
PT: “You know I kind of flew under the radar most of the season and in Hollywood Week and I was OK with that cause I knew my time was gonna come. I don’t feel like I was an underdog, but more like I flew under the radar.”
Q: Last night when it was over it looked like a medic walked you off stage. What happened?
PT: “Yes, I wasn’t feeling too good then. It was a tough moment for me. While I was singing it was very, very hard for me to get through that song. I was trying to take deep breathes and it wasn’t working out too well. I was getting a little light-headed. Being in the position I was it was a little much for me.”