American Idol: Who's to Blame for This Week's Horrible, Horrible Results?

It’s been almost 24 hours since what I would argue was American Idol‘s all-time worst results-show telecast — hey, at least Chris Daughtry and Tamyra Gray made it all the way to fourth in their respective seasons! — and I’m still reeling. How did the season’s most consistent (and arguably most gifted) vocalist, Pia Toscano, get booted so prematurely?

Idol’s Pia Reveals Her Bottom 3 Prediction, Wonders Why She Didn’t Rock Enough Votes

Yeah, yeah, I know some of you are gonna say, “Slezak, get over it! Pia was boring/emotionally distant/predictable/uninventive/blah blah blah!” But even if we agree to disagree on those points (and disagree I do), let’s be really real for a second: There’s no way anyone anywhere is going to convince me Pia shouldn’t have received an express pass to Season 10’s Top 5. If nailing every note of every song — and being among the best two or three performers for six consecutive weeks — wasn’t enough to at least outlast Stefano Langone and Jacob Lusk, then something in the milk ain’t clean, as the expression goes.

American Idol Recap: Rocky Horror

Anyway, with all the rage and sadness collecting in the pit of my tumtee, there’s plenty of blame to go around: to Idol‘s judging panel (get my thoughts on their failures here); to Nigel Lythgoe and the Idol production team (for failing to demand better of the judges, and for gifting Scotty and James with “girl mob” and “Hulk Hogan” moments, but never throwing a similar humanizing spotlight on female singers); to Jimmy Iovine, Will.I.Am, and their ilk (always worthy of some scorn, no?); to America (for its general voting heinousness); and, well, check out the rest of my options in the poll below.

In the meantime, I’ll express my own personal assigning of blame in musical form — to the tune of a Michael Jackson ditty described by Steven Tyler as one of the greatest compositions ever. Feel free to sing along if you find it cathartic:

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to count his votes

Idol ladies they’re all disappearers
If you wanna send a girl to the Nokia
And avoid another case of the Gokey uh
You gotta dial and text
While you got the time
‘Cause 20 votes won’t do
With Pia’s dreams on the line!

No need for a Standing O, thanks. Those are reserved for Scotty McCreery and James Durbin only. Sound off in the poll below, share your thoughts/rants/rebukes/lyrics in the comments, and do please follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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382 Comments
  1. Bill says:

    Is the introduction of online/facebook voting giving teen girls too much sway? Each online voter gets 50 votes to use during each telecast. So when you consider that there is most likely a disproportionate number of teen girls using facebook/online voting and that it is easier to click-a-vote than dial-a-vote, teen girls are simply getting more votes in than the “general population” can offset. During phone/text only years, the general population was able to keep the disproportional teen girl vote relatively in check, but maybe it just cannot keep up with every teen girl casting 50 easy online votes. While only the producers know how the voting numbers statistically play out, maybe this years’ online voting is a key part as to why the results have been so consistently extreme this year. And if so, I wouldn’t be surprised if they change the voting rules a bit to give the show back some credibility. Putting in at least one more critical judge wouldn’t hurt either.

    • GingerSnap says:

      50 votes online is nothing when you have unlimited text voting. It’s the text voters who scew the voting.

  2. PatD says:

    Right.

    Because Lauren, Jacob, Stefano, Scotty, etc. are such dynamos.

    Whatever.

    Michael, Pia was seen meeting with Warner execs yesterday. When you interview her, please ask her is she’s had any contact from David Foster.

  3. agrimesy says:

    SLEZAK! Everybody! Go watch this video clip with Nigel Lythgoe!

    @lyndseyparker Did you hear what Nigel Lythgoe had to say about Pia Toscano’s elimination and possible future Idol rule changes? http://yhoo.it/h8Mvm3

    This could fix everything next season! Changing the power of the judges will significantly help the show next season. If the judges can choose who goes home of the bottom three, that will improve a lot of things. 1) The judges will actually have to own up to their critiques, no more “beautiful” platitudes. 2) Good singers will still have a chance against the teen power voters. 3) Finally girls will have a shot at the title again! I also believe a dramatic sing off will help fill up time on these boring results show. The group numbers will become an opportunity to win the judges’ favor not just for cheesy entertainment.

  4. ladyhelix says:

    It’s time to get ready to vote this week, or change the channel.

  5. Ken says:

    This is a competition to find future performing stars, not the “best singer” If it was the best singer, just forget the 100,000 auditions and invite in the students from the Julliard School of music. I’m sure they could out sing 99% of Idol contestants. A unique, original star performer is what the show should seek. Most years the unique talent loses out to the “eye candy” i.e. Kris Allen instead od Adam Lambert?, Lee Dewyse instead of Crystal Bowersox? Pia, with some work possibly could be a stage performer but unless she develops some identity, she’ll will never be a major recording artist. That’s what the judges have been telling her. Also, I think that ugly Gwyn Steffani outfit is what really did her in. The real ones who could become an original artist are still there; Casey, James, Jacob. Scotty is already set to become a big country star, he doesn’t even need Idol anymore. Lauren has a long shot at becoming a country performer. Who America will pick as this years “eye candy” is anybody’s guess. C. Daughtry, J. Hudson and Kelly Pickler have shown you didn’t need idol if you have that seed of star quality and work to develop it.

  6. ARCHU-D2 says:

    HALEY AND LAUREN SMILING DURING PIA’S ELIMANATION!!:

    If you have Pia’s elimanation saved on your DVR, play it back in slow-mo and you actually see Lauren and Haley smiling and geedy with excitment during Pia’s elimantion. The inapproriate antics by Haley and Lauren starts around the time Jacob is sent back to the safe couches.

    I guess they saw Pia as a huge threat…

    • dkw says:

      While I respect your ability to analyze people’s emotions and intentions based on two seconds of footage, if you read various in-studio recaps you might read about Haley wiping away tears and pumping the audience up for Pia’s last performance, or how upset Lauren was. Maybe you should watch in slow motion the footage of both of them visibly distraught, which you conveniently omitted from your analysis of their supposed cutthroat intentions.

  7. ARCHU-D2 says:

    HALEY AND LAUREN SMILING DURING PIA’S ELIMANATION!:

    If you have Pia’s elimanation saved on your DVR, play it back in slow-mo and you actually see Lauren and Haley smiling and geedy with excitment during Pia’s elimantion. The inapproriate antics by Haley and Lauren starts around the time Jacob is sent back to the safe couches.

    I guess they saw Pia as a huge threat…

  8. woomble says:

    I think some people are looking at Simon through rose-colored glasses. Simon was never, ever about “constructive criticism.” In fact, when pressed to give some, his only advice was to “sing better.” It’s highly likely he would have called Pia’s performance this week a little stiff and/or a big robotic. So she might have gone home anyway. The only two judges in the history of Idol to ever give constructive, useful advice have been Kara and J-Lo, and only one of them makes for entertaining TV. (Hint: It’s not Kara.)

    • GingerSnap says:

      Yea, but he would have lambasted a few of the guys for being kareoke or lounge singers or indulgent. We hear nary a negative word from our panel of astute judges. Is it just me or does anyone think that Simon & JLo together would put some spark back in the competition?

  9. stacy says:

    the bottom line is my mind drifted everytime she sang. i wasn’t riveted by any of her performances. i don’t know why that is – maybe no charisma, i don’t know what it was, she just didn’t do it for me even though she was the “best” singer. i can’t stand country music and yet when lauren and scotty sing i pay attention. she just lacked that quality that makes you shine.

  10. L says:

    I completely agree with you Michael. It’s unbelievable to me that people think anyone in the remaining group was better than Pia. I won’t be watching the remaing episodes this season. There is no reason to.

    On a good note, I am reading that Pia has been picked up by Jimmy Iovine’s Interscope Records (within 24 hours of her ouster). So obviously, people think she is talented enough to offer her a record deal so quickly. I’ll be right there to buy it and I can’t wait.

    I’ll still read your recaps and watch Idoloonies because that is one of the best things about Idol. Just won’t give them my time anymore.

  11. Tara says:

    Pia is BORING and didn’t do anything to inspire people to pick up the phone and vote for her. Her core demographics are old people who likes that style of singing, and they don’t vote. That’s the short answer to your question, Michael. If Simon was still on the panel, he would call her a lounge/cruise boat singer and she would not have cracked the top 12. Sorry.

  12. steve says:

    Sausage Idol!

  13. H says:

    get over it slezak, and stop this madness! will pia give us something unique, something that we’ve never heard before?! your pia got NO STAGE SKILLS and SINGS&SOUNDS GENERIC! so why don’t yah just bring out that old jessica simpson poster of yours and stick it back to your wall!

  14. Leslie says:

    I feel that the majority of AI voters vote for a cute singer/songwriter type male with a guitar. It is no longer about pure talent. I vote for the best singer, and that was Pia. She may not have been the most entertaining, but I don’t see her as being robotic or boring. She had a good attitude and her vocals were entertaining enough to make up for any losses in performance style. None of the guys deserve to even be in the top two. And it just further proves my above mentioned theory when there are only two girls left surrounded by guys whose talent ranges from zero to sub par. I think that this is what AI has become, and its time to scrap the show and hope that the XFactor can offer a new beginning.

  15. Snsetblaze says:

    The poll is bogus as it does not give a “none of the above” or “it was the right decision” or “its not that big of a deal” or an “I don’t care” option. I had to choose Pia herself because – despite the overpraising of the judges for everyone in general – she did not listen to what little advice she was given. We heard her do the same type of songs every week until the last week – and it showed her to be boring although a technically proficient singer (especially to those who find Celeine Dion and her ilk boring as it is, like me). And the uptempo number she did (I’m not talking about the group number) was a light version of the song and only medium temp.

  16. Winnie says:

    Theory: Scotty = Carrie Underwood and is therefore getting an overwhelming majority of the votes each week like Nigel has said happened during Carrie’s season. That leaves the remainder of the votes being split (maybe pretty evenly) between all the others, so ANYONE (Casey, Pia, etc.) is vulnerable on a weekly basis. A strong country music performer (not Kristy Lee Cook!) is unbeatable on Idol.

    • GingerSnap says:

      Up until this week, I think the top 3 vote getters were. Scotty, James & Pia. Nigel is right. She was never #1 or #2, but a solid #3 or #4. The way Idol is currently structured, it’s impossible for a girl to be #1. The best that can happen is #3 or #4. That’s the way it’s been for 2 of the last 3 seasons. Crystal hung on for a solid second place finish last year. I don’t think we’ll see a girl in the top 4 this year – maybe not the top 5. Based on Nigel’s arrogant little comment, he sees nothing wrong with that.

  17. ngh18 says:

    Slezak–I am so surprised at you. Let it go–she WAS boring. The judges have done absolutely nothing this season but compliment each and every performance. The singers don’t know what needs improvement and they certainly would have no way of getting that from the very untalented and clueless Will.i.am–are you kidding me!!! This show is losing it fast and certainly not because of Pia’s ouster. It’s America’s idol and she ain’t it!!!

  18. stacy says:

    Lauren/Scotty final two…with the win going to Lauren.

  19. @galaga6846 says:

    I have read every single reader comment on this article, and I have one question.

    Michael Slezak, did YOU vote for Pia?

  20. Brock says:

    There should be a “save” vote each week and an “eliminate” vote each week. :)

  21. Julie says:

    You want to hear amazing, strong female vocals AND artistry, voted off American Idol absurdly too soon? For those of you crying over Pia, go to this YouTube address (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldnklM_UqZE) and listen to Carly Smithson singing “Come Together” on season 7. Then listen to her “Crazy on You” and for completely different colors to her voice, “Blackbird”. Also, transportive was her duet “She Wrote Me a Letter” with Michael Johns (another voted off way too early), at the finale. Given that David Cook and sweet 16-year-old David Archuleta were also on that season, it isn’t a total shock that she didn’t win, but the fact that neither she nor Johns made it to the final five, much less the final three, is a reminder of what Idol is and is not. Listening to Carly will also give you some perspective on Pia and her supposedly great pipes, not that I’m saying there’s any better vocalist than her on THIS season.

  22. music lady says:

    I’ve asked this before, but will again;

    How many of you folks, who are complaining that Pia got voted off, actually pick up the phone and voted for her Wednesday night?

  23. Julie says:

    Michael, Here’s a question: Why doesn’t Idol book We Are The Fallen (the bad Carly now sings with) for an idol results night? I thought they liked to show-case their alumni’s success — or is it that her band is with a competing record label?

  24. Suncatcher says:

    Gotta blame Nigel Lythgoe PRODUCER as long as he wants to keep the idiotic voting “system”. All votes are skewed as long as you can vote as many times as you want.

    Nigel, by the way, makes a lot of $$$ from sponsor, AT & T – who makes their $$$ every time one of the tweenies sends a text message. No incentive for Nigel to change the voting “system.”

  25. ARCHU-D2 says:

    If you think of AI as the reality show it is, instead of the talent show it’s pretending to be you can totally predict the final five: James, Casey, Haley, Scotty, and Lauren. Haley, Lauren, and Scotty for final three. Lauren and Scotty for for final two. With Lauren (the all american teenager) as the WINNER!

  26. DN says:

    It appears this girl chose ballad after ballad because she cannot move in heals. She might’ve well been singing karaoke because her body language did not match the tempo of that song. And, yes, Lopez, as gently as possible, pointed that out to Toscano.

    Ultimately, who cares. Really. Does it really matter? Pia is a beautiful girl with a beautiful voice. But that will not sellout concerts. Gotta have charisma and she has none. She’s gotten by on her looks for a long time and it finally bit her in the butt.

  27. Marlex says:

    I was shocked by Pia’s elimination but not outraged. I admired her ability but wasn’t a huge fan. David Cook got me interested in AI and he and Kris are the only ones I’ve voted for so Pia isn’t really my musical genre.

    She should have stayed longer obviously but there really hasn’t been a true frontrunner. This time last season–whose talent was much worse as a whole–we had Bowersox and Lee separating themselves…before we learned the true limitations of his voice. Even Sioban had had a moment or two by now.

    Two seasons ago we had Kris and Adam doing totally unexpected arrangements that were memorable.

    The closest thong we’ve had to a rememirable arrangement this season was Niama’s reggae version which she unfortunately destroyed with a fake accent.

    This combined with non-existant judging has made it a flat season as far as momentum. I don’t think you have to vote for the best I vow for the person I want to hear more from. I havent voted at all this season but if I were to it would be for Paul…not because I thinkhe should won but because I want to hear another song from him next week. Once were down to 4 or 5 then yeah…that probably shouldn’t be the case.

    We’ve only been through top 9 week and we’ve had two contestants go from never being in the bottom to being out…both who at the time were considered strong. I’m not saying Casey should win but a bottom 11 finish was too early for him. The save is a new thing really. I don’t think you can blame the judges for using where they did. Usually fans get a bottom three warning before somebody goes.

    And remember… the last shocking elimination was probably Michael Johns.

  28. ys says:

    How dare Christian Slater’s daughter show her support for Lauren and Pia? Didn’t she know that she had a moral obligation to text “til her fingers bleed” for the guys? Honestly, young girls these days!

  29. Helena says:

    I think this “Piagate” has been blown out of proportion. I am not surprised that Pia got eliminated this early. You can’t expect to stay in the competition if you do the same thing week after week. If you can’t connect with the audience it does not matter how well you sing. Somebody pointed out that Pia= Celine Lite. I have to agree with that.

    It is not Casey’s fault that he was saved. He was as deserving as Pia or Scotty. He did not expect to be saved and after the save he did not act conceited unlike Big Mike last year. Despite Casey’s imperfections I much rather watch him because he is an engaging performer.

    Another person, who will go home sooner than expected, is James. He is too much of an Adam Lambert copycat. Does he think nobody notices?

    The judges deserve credit for finding some good talent this year, but they have failed miserably in guiding the contestants.

    • ARCHU-D2 says:

      Pia-gate, lol, I love it. Oh, and I totally agree with all of your points. If you sit back and think about Pia’s elimination shouldn’t be shocking. She did the same thing week after week.

  30. H says:

    tell me slezak, why should i buy the second coming of jessica simpson?!?

  31. JohnDoe says:

    God, I can’t wait for X Factor to come on and destroy American Idol in terms of talent, judging, and structure.

  32. Rosie says:

    Can’t stand it – Slezak – you nailed it.

    It stank. Stunk. Reaked. I could barely stand to watch Pia after that announcement.

    I am still in shock.

    Clean up the voting – and clean out the ginned up profits to AT&T that come with 500 votes a night from tweens voting for lesser talented wannabes – just so AT-9&T can make a profit off of it all. Back to one vote per phone number – or cancel the show.

    As it stands- I am through with watching one more minute of this totally cruel AND CORRUPTED television show. Pia Toscano is a very real undeserving victim in all of this. She did not deserve to be mistreated like this.

  33. Catherine says:

    If the judges panel had done their job they would have pointed out that:
    -Pia is beautiful
    -She is a great technical singer
    – but she does not have an interesting tone
    – she does not have an interesting phrasing despite training in preforming school
    – she does not have stage presence despite training in preforming school.
    – she lacks charisma.
    – there is more to an artist than being able to belt high notes.

    The result would have been an expected non fuss exit.

    • Kali Conde says:

      Only Mr Cowell will point that out

    • Sophia says:

      No charisma? She’s gorgeos. Not everybody has to dance to be good on stage. Not an intersting tone? Cause jacob who Moves like a fool, lauren who can’t look more than 1 sec in the same direction, scotty with his one face expression have good stage presence? Come on

  34. Kali Conde says:

    Well may be she is just another Jen Hudson, not bad at all.

  35. KathyS says:

    @Jay, why are you even on this site then? As for teens and tweens, I host a housefull for A I each week and I can assure you that the majority of teens are not Sanjay-crying idiots who only care about looks. I have 3 girls in this demographic and of course all their friends, who watch with us every week for 3 years now. They analyze the singing, dancing, stage presence, outfit, etc. just as we do as adults. They don’t stay up all night texting their vote for the hottest guy. While it may be simple to blame everything on mindless, hormonal robot girls, that is as much a stereotype as the whole “women jealousy” crap of prior comments. Get real! Frankly, I think Pia peaked too early in the season and she had nowhere to go but down from the ridiculously high benchmark she set for herself from the first audition on….

  36. Suncatcher says:

    Pia signed a recording contract yesterday.

    http://www.usmagazine.com/moviestvmusic/news/american-idols-pia-toscano-scores-a-record-deal-201194

    She also was great singing on the Tonight Show Friday night!

  37. wendeeloo says:

    Michael left out what I think really caused Pia to go early – The voting system – I think many older(20yrs+) voters don’t bother voting because they know they can’t compete with the kids who power vote. If it was 10-20 votes per phone line – a person figures, “I can do that”. So Idol gets an inaccurate picture of the likes of their whole audience. But they are too ego driven and need to say they had “55 million” votes as if that’s how many people are watching.

  38. H says:

    the night Pia got voted off…

    -rating is down 10% from last week when Thia and Niama got the boot

    -vote count is not even good enuf to be mentioned compared to the preceding week’s 55 million

    …when there were less people who cared enuf to watch and even much lesser who cared enuf to vote, then what’s slezak making a fuzz about!? slezak is much of a fangirl like those teenies that voted for the likes of MADman scotty! PIA AS A FRONT RUNNER IS A MYTH THAT EXIST ONLY ON A FANGIRL’S BLOG LIKE SLEZAK! the show result is shouting-’IT’S TIME TO WAKE UP!’

  39. Sophia says:

    Totally agree with slezak! Pia was far the best contestant this year and my favorite since Adam. If only they didn’t use the save on Casey. He didn’t deserve it.. He has nice moments but overall he also has bad ones. Not once had Pia sang poorly. She always delivers, it was heartbreaking to see her leave singing i stand by you. Really wonder who’s gonna win now… Hope it’ll be scotty as he’s the most talented remaining and hopefully america’s gonna vote right and elimitate jacob next week. But unfortunately, as i see what sells the most in the US nowadays, i guess there is no place for people who can actually sing…

  40. Jessica says:

    Pia did it to herself. She never improved. Oh yeah she has the vocal talent but what genre is she? Whitney Houston, Tina Turner and Celine Dion? No way-they are/were better than she is-by a mile. She had time to improve her performance and she didn’t. It’s her fault. Yeah I don’t get how Jacob is getting votes and he should of been gone a while ago-actually never on the live stage or the tour. It sucks but this is all on Pia-even Jacob made changes but she never did. I actually hope she realizes this and doesn’t spend her time blaming others when she should look in the mirror on this one.

    • Jessica says:

      I know I may just sound like a young female voter but I’m not young and I give everyone a chance. I also think she is gorgeous and no jealousy from my end. If anything I hope she becomes a model or Miss America (sorry had to LOL).

  41. Jessi says:

    Honestly, it’s more of a personality show than a singing show, as is most everything, and Pia just didn’t have enough personality. I’m sure most of the idol viewers can’t even tell when someone is singing in tune or not.lol

  42. nick says:

    Its the tamyra gray syndrom. The people who watch idol dont vote for diva singers. your God simon cowell couldnt prevent justin guarini from coming in second and he couldnty stop Paula and Randy from Goking a whole seqason and who pushed Lee last year as the best talent of the season for ten weeks no other than sainted old disinterested sabtteur Simon. So dont blame the judges. People watch and vote on this show not for talent but for the back stories and sympathy.Little country girl with big breats who’s father is in jail. goofy looking country boy from N carolina who gets a makeover poor girl with an out of wedlock child to raze. America votes for stories and soap operas Its desperate housewives and general hospital with singing and every once in a while youll stumble across a star like CArrie or Jennifer or daughtry or Kelly and you give a bunch of other kids a chance to satr on braodway or reality tv what is wrong with that. Where was Pia befoe the show So stop whining and complaining and sit back and enough the show its not real life its TV

  43. LadyBug979 says:

    Thank you MQ!!! Her tone was not there. Yelling a song isn’t enough.

  44. heelarryous says:

    i would put this results show as the 2nd worst in all-time idol history…the worst for me was when jennifer hudson got the boot in her season…she was my fave and was hoping for the Dreamgirls final 3 w/her and Fantasia and LaToya London…that being said, i don’t know why i’m not that upset about Pia’s ouster, never emotionally connected with her nor rooted for her as one of my faves, it was just kinda robotically programmed that she was one of the faves and would make the finals and we were just supposed to follow suit…the girls this season r def worse than the boys or at least not as much variety…Pia will probably get a record deal anyways…if Scotty gets the boot and doesn’t make the finals he will for sure also get a recording deal for country…i would hope if my james doesn’t make the final and/or wins, he would also get a record deal…i really can’t see myself buying a Pia record…even Carrie Underwood with all her success and co-hosting awards shows and music videos and such, still comes off as a boring stiff no personality stepford wife just like in her season, i was rooting for Bo Bice to win! LOL. Pia may be nice and sweet and all, but she needs to learn to break thru the wall and emotionally connect w/the audience and learn to work that stage for filth, work a numbah like a drag queen in the bar collecting those dollah bills trying to make the rent…ya know like miss lusk does w/her DQ lipsynch faces! Lauren needs to really open up and give 110% on stage, but she’s young and needs many years of stage experience. Altho Jordin Sparks was young when she won and i predicted her win. i’ll rejoice when haley scarnato jr. gets the boot, hallelu!!!

  45. dee says:

    why is everyone so shocked? even nigel admitted she has not been a frontrunner in terms of votes. amazing voice, zero personality. simon would have driven it home that she needed to find a personality pronto, because hellooo it’s a tv show. the three “i love everything”‘s on the panel sure didn’t help.

  46. Kiki says:

    My answer is not there and that is: Nobody. I’m not angry, sad or disappointed. She has a nice voice but IMO, she OVER did her high notes all the time, making it seems like she was screaming instead of singing. Also, I don’t really like her personality. I’m shocked that she got eliminated so early, but I’m not angry, sad or disappointed.

  47. Brenda Russll says:

    Lee’s Rocket man makes Paul’s look weak- His voice is weak-that is not rasp-Lee, Daivid Cook, Hailey-that is rasp!

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