LOS ANGELES — Why did Pia Toscano, the front-runner of all front-runners on "American Idol" get sent home on Thursday night?
Think of all the former "American Idol" finalists who've made it farther than ninth place in the contest over the years. Jennifer Hudson is nothing to sneeze at, but how about Sanjaya Malakar in season 6? He made it to Top 7, as did Season 7's Kristy Lee Cook. Neither could hold a candle to Pia's powerful pipes.
So what happened? Here are some theories.
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1. Girls don't like girls It's a long-standing trend on "Idol", whose audience is overwhelmingly female — girls don't vote for the female contestants. Blame it on same-gender envy or the crush factor (this year's prime beneficiaries: Scotty McCreery and Paul McDonald) but it's simply a fact of "Idol" life. One by one, the girls get plucked like the petals of a flower.
2. Lack of guidance by the judges With the new judges so positive pretty much all the time, the audience seems unsure of who to vote for. It's not like the show needs a bully to function, but when you're faced with the decision of choosing the best in a group of greats, some professional insight is called for and these judges are failing on that front. Suggestion: let record producer and "Idol" mentor Jimmy Iovine have a turn to tell it like it really is.
3. Presumptive Winner Syndrome It's when everybody is so universally convinced that a contestant will win, that they basically neglect or forget to vote for that finalist. It's been Pia's problem from the very beginning, when it was insinuated that she might be a plant. Why? Because she's so perfect!
4. The producers deemed it so Plenty of "Idol" fans have conspiracy theories. Maybe, just maybe, the producers fudged the results for some inexplicable reason, or simply to mess with America. Although after the credits had rolled, several people in the "Idol" studio audience demanded a recount.
5. You can't touch Tina Turner Personally, I thought Pia slayed what is arguably the best piece of music to come out of the Ike and Tina Turner catalog with her rendering of "River Deep, Mountain High". But there were plenty of rumblings around the Internet about her robotic movements, unattractive outfit, and simply the fact that you don't touch the mighty Tina Turner.