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American Idol season 10 darling Pia Toscano, fresh off a gig opening for the Los Angeles Kings—her Stanley Cup performances of the national anthem made her the “good luck charm” of the finals—took center stage at Crustacean Beverly Hills on Wednesday night. She joined childhood friend, writing partner and producer Jared Lee for what was billed as the Red Hour Jam Session. Crustacean’s sister enterprise, Left Shoe Company, presented the event.
The night kicked off with tapas and specialty cocktails like the Mrs. Red and Mr. Red (Ciroc-based pick-me-ups, tart and spicy, respectively) in the red-washed lounge of the Beverly Hills mainstay. Later, the invite-only crowd made their way into the mahogany dining room, where Toscano and Lee introduced them to a night jam-packed with acoustic performances.
Toscano and Lee, also known as DUO, have been friends and collaborators since their teens. They are currently working on an EP of songs that Lee hopes will be “catchy but still honest, passionate and impactful.”
Toscano finished ninth on American Idol Season 10, which is widely regarded as one of the most shocking eliminations in Idol history. Since her too-soon exit from Idol, she’s become quite the protege of Idol judge Jennifer Lopez, who invited her on tour this summer to sing backup.
“Jen’s been really amazing to me since I did the show and she’s always been very supportive,” Toscano gushed. “The fact that she’s kind of taken me under her wing and trusts me to sing onstage with her and perform with her is a true blessing. I’m learning a lot from her. That, for me, is the best experience.”
Other Idol alums Jessica Sanchez (season 11 runner-up) and Candice Glover (season 12 winner), also joined Toscano onstage. Additional highlights included performances by Juliet Simms (The Voice, season two), Nikola Bedingfield (sister of Daniel and Natasha Bedingfield), boy-band-turned-solo-artist Travis Garland, a break-up anthem from Brandyn Burnette, an acoustic set from Open Air Stereo and a sampling of songs by newbie Noelle Bean.
Grammy-nominated artist Colby O’Donis ended the night with a soul-filled set. O’Donis was featured on Lady Gaga’s first hit, “Just Dance,” and one of his own tracks, “What You Got,” featuring Akon, which made it to No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2008.
Proceeds from the event benefited the David Foster Foundation, which supports families with children in need of an organ transplant.
The event was presented by in partnership with The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard as well as O’Gara Coach Beverly Hills.
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