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The elimination of Pia Toscano in ninth place on season ten of “American Idol” was a big shocker to fans and immediately prompted a promise of a watcher ban on Twitter. Fans should know by now that there has been a shocking early elimination on nearly every season of the talent show. In fact, Toscano joins an elite crowd that have gone on to great heights in the entertainment industry.
Tamyra Gray was the original shocking elimination in season one of “AI,” finishing in fourth place. While fourth is nothing to be ashamed of, many thought it would come down to Kelly Clarkson or Justin Guarini (the eventual first and second place finishers) and Tamyra Gray for the finals. She went on to have a recurring role on “Boston Public” before it’s cancellation, and a has a few other acting credits. Since then she’s also been successful in Broadway productions.
Jennifer Hudson is the most decorated “American Idol” contestant that was eliminated early. Finishing the season three competition in seventh place didn’t hurt Hudson one bit. In fact, she’s gone on to become an Academy Award winning actress and still has one of the most successful singing careers. The early elimination actually helped Hudson find herself and her place in the entertainment industry.
Chris Daughtry, eliminated from “AI” in fourth place during season five, was one of the most shocking. I still think that had the contestants been allowed to play instruments at that time Daughtry would have likely won. His self named band “Daughtry” has gone on to perform to sellout crowds around the world proving that sometimes losing is for the best.
Michael Johns went home early in season seven. Up against two major talents in David Archuleta and David Cook, Johns was lost in the shuffle. What was surprising about Johns’ elimination was that he was outlasted by Brooke White. White remains the one contestant to have more than one really poor performance on the live “Idol” stage and get away with it. While he was never my favorite in season seven, I did think Johns would make it farther than eighth place.
Every season of “American Idol” has had a shocking elimination. Maybe not that we thought the person would actually win, but they would at least outlast a few that stayed in the competition. Pia Toscano is no different. I didn’t think she should win, simply because of her stage presence, but I did think she would make the top five.
It always comes down to voter apathy. It’s usually not based on any performance flaws by the contestant, but more the fact that their fan base assumed they were safe. That’s one thing you can never assume on “American Idol.” No one is ever safe until Ryan Seacrest reads the results.