What's Pia Toscano like on the day after she was shockingly cut from "American Idol"?
No regrets. No anger. No blame.
But . . . interestingly enough . . . a premonition: That Thursday would be her last night on "American Idol," and there was nothing she could do about it.
Toscano just got off the phone with a press gaggle that pretty much wanted to know two things -- how do you feel and how could this travesty happen?
And if they expected fire, brimstone, or a raging (Charlie) Sheen machine, then the disappointment belonged to them alone. After one of the most unexpected "Idol" eliminations in the show's 10 seasons, Pia Toscano sounded happy, calm, and full of a sense that she was at the beginning of a glorious career, and maybe she is.
Was she surprised last night? "It's funny because the night before [Wednesday] I had a weird feeling in my stomach . . . I felt strange the night before and it happens to me a lot, these premonitions, and usually when I feel it, it happens."
What went through her the minute - gulp - the unthinkable - gulp again - happened?
"I was just trying to stay composed. I was really emotional. It's scary being up there. You lose years off your life. It's terrifying but I feel like everything happens for a reason."
Someone asked her about the judges' visceral response -- what a huge mistake the whole thing was -- and whether Stefano Langone should have been the one to go. Said she: "Stefano's a very good friend of mine and I was sitting down with him, and he was saying to me, 'I'm the one that's going.' I said, 'No you're not . . . ' He was so upset with the outcome but he deserves to be in the top 8. He's an incredible talent and everything happens because it's supposed to happen."
But of course, that doesn't make it any easier. Toscano broke into sobs last night -- maybe one of the most emotional moments ever witnessed on such a carefully calibrated and calculated artifice such as "Idol."
She was then helped offstage by a medic. A medic!
"It was a tough moment for me. While I was singing ['I'll Stand by You'] it was very, very hard for me to get through that song. I was trying to take deep breaths but it wasn't working out so well. I was getting lightheaded and it was a bit much, a little overwhelming. So I did have the medic walk me offstage. But I'm fine now."
"What a lot of people don't know about me is that I do get kind of shy, and get a little bit of stage fright right before I go onto the stage, which I feel everyone can relate to . . . but I want to make sure that during the tour I really own that stage."
OK, what happened? Great contestant, gone too soon. Did people forget to vote? What?
"You can't really say why I got voted off. It could have been people assumed I was safe, maybe they didn't. Maybe a lack of connection. You don't know for sure why things happen but it was my time to go. I'm excited to see what the future holds. I really am."
But Pia! Where's the fury! The injustice of it all! Why are you not foaming at the mouth at all those stupid voters, and teen girls who don't vote for balladeers who kinda look like Celine Dion! Give us your inner Charlie Sheen! Go warlock on "Idol!"
"Definitely a woman can win again. I feel like every singer, ever contestant is extremely strong . . . they all deserve to be there . . . there are a lot of young girls that watch and vote, but I don't have an answer to that question." The future? "I'm gonna go back to New York for a little while. [But] I want to be close to my management out here. I think I may come out here after the tour. We'll see what happens. I love it out here. I'll travel back and forth. I'm very very close to my family, but I really love it out here as well."
"I'm not upset. I'm positive right now."
Some readers may be wondering at this point -- did "Idol," which is effectively her employer, tell her to put the best foot forward and to not trash the show which clearly screwed this up to an almost monumental degree -- but don't ask me how, I'm just feeling warlockish right now? Did it tell her to go all smiley for the press and pretend that everything is peachy keen while inside she is that raging torrent?
Maybe, but I can also say she sounded pretty sincere on this call, and in a funny way, almost relieved -- that the ordeal is over, and now she can get on with the rest of her life, which undoubtedly will include record contracts and who knows-what-else.
In other words, she very much sounds happy and positive. Maybe because she has a premonition about her future.