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American Idol favorite Pia Toscano was voted off the competition Thursday night in a shocking elimination episode that left her fellow contestants distraught and the judges vocally expressing their dismay.
“I have no idea what just happened here. I’m shocked. I’m angry. I don’t even know what to say,” remarked Jennifer Lopez, who held her head in her hands when the results were announced.
Randy Jackson, who shouted “No!” when Ryan Seacrest revealed Toscano’s elimination, said, “I’m never upset on this show and I’m never really mad, but this makes me mad.”
Steven Tyler, who muttered an expletive that was censored when Seacrest first told Toscano she’d landed in the bottom three, said nothing after the final outcome.
Casey Abrams — and Four Other Shocking ‘American Idol’ Upsets
When asked how she was feeling, Toscano mustered, “I’m good. I’m OK. I’m OK.” But the singer, who was pegged early as a potential winner this season, cried while watching her farewell montage and struggled to get through her final song, a version of the Pretenders’ “I’ll Stand By You.”
Had Toscano’s elimination come earlier in the season, the Howard Beach, New York native would have no doubt been saved. But the judges had exhausted their lone save option of the season during top 11 week on Casey Abrams, who was deemed safe by voters this week. Stefano Langone and Jacob Lusk joined Toscano in the bottom three.
Toscano’s elimination is the latest in an ongoing trend of female contestants being voted off American Idol before their male counterparts. Just two females — Lauren Alaina and Haley Reinhart — remain in the competition this season, while six males are left standing. The last time a female contestant won American Idol was four years ago, when Jordin Sparks triumphed in Season 6.
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