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Shortly after Pia Toscano joined Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Sanchez and Allison Iraheta for a performance on season 13 of American Idol, the season 10 alum was offered another golden opportunity from the “I Luh Ya Papi” singer.
This Friday, Toscano will embark on a six-date tour with Lopez , which includes high-profile appearances on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Good Morning America’s “Fun in the Sun” concert series on June 20 in Central Park and a homecoming show in the Bronx as part of the State Farm Neighborhood Sessions.
Speaking between a rehearsal with Lopez and a show with singer-songwriter Jared Lee, Toscano says she cannot believe her good fortune. “I have to pinch myself a little bit that I am in the same room with her now,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter.
The 25-year-old New York native said she was called by Lopez’s musical director earlier this spring with the proposal to join the show as a backup singer. “Originally it was just two [shows] and now it’s six,” says Toscano. “I had some conflicts, but they have been really good with working with my schedule, which is very sweet of them to do. They are helping me out in so many ways and I am so thrilled that I can be a part of it.”
Toscano adds that Lopez is one of the “hardest working women I have ever met. … Jennifer is really loyal and welcoming and such a good mentor. I feel like she has almost taken me under her wing a little bit and has given me an incredible opportunity where I can now watch her work and see what it takes.”
Indeed, to watch Lopez in action is like a master class in superstardom. “Not all of us rise so fast,” says Toscano. “It’s very difficult and we don’t think we realized getting into it what it takes to become a superstar like Jennifer Lopez … I was just watching her in rehearsal just now and she is performing like she is doing a concert.”
In looking back at her own Idol experience, Toscano offers: “With Idol, a lot of us hoped to get record deals and a lot of us do, but after that it’s, where do you go from here? And you have to keep networking and [keep] making incredible relationships. I feel like I worked very hard on Idol and always treated people the way I wanted to be treated. I was always on time, I was always paying attention … You may get an opportunity from your work ethic.”
Toscano gives props to Lopez’s presence on the show. “To me, she is one of the best judges that show has ever had,” she says, “She’s so precise with her critiques and so constructive at the same time. I remember when I was on the show, judges didn’t go to dress rehearsals, but she was at every single one paying attention. She was focused and involved, and with me she helped me out so much and made me realize a lot of things I didn’t really get at the time, and I am very thankful to her for that because it made me improve so much as a singer and a performer. She really cares. She cares so much about the show, and she looked beautiful doing it.”
As for Toscano, she has a busy schedule of her own to keep. During the hockey season for the Los Angeles Kings, she was contracted to sing the National Anthem for 20 home games, as well as playoff games and a possible Stanley Cup game appearance if the Kings advance.
Additionally, she is writing songs with Lee for a future album.
“It’s coming along really great. I am finally getting to put my own stamp on things with artistic, creative opinions and beginning to voice them now,” she says. “I have been writing a lot, and I think I am getting better as a writer and more confident in that area.”
Lopez’s tour kicks off this Friday, May 30 at Summer Jam, 2014, in Mansfield, Mass. Says Toscano: “It’s very exciting. I’m very flattered and honored that she wants me to be a part of it.”
Jennifer Lopez Tour Dates:
5/30 — Mansfield, Mass. Xfinity Center
5/31 — Mansfield, Mass. Xfinity Center
6/4 — Orchard Beach, Pelham Bay Park, N.Y. — State Farm Neighborhood Sessions
6/16 — Orlando, Fla. — The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon
6/20 — Central Park, N.Y. — Good Morning America
6/21 — Mashantucket, Conn — Foxwoods Casino
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