Pia Toscano’s elimination from “American Idol’s” Season 10 on Thursday night came as a shock, not just to the judges and show host Ryan Seacrest, but to the nation as well.
As Ryan delivered the news, a stunned look swept across the pretty brunette’s face, as well as that of fellow contestant Stefano Langone, who for sure thought he was getting the boot.
Before her elimination, Pia was believed to be a major frontrunner and her elimination caused an uproar with regular viewers and celebrities alike.
Tom Hanks, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Minka Kelly, Ashton Kutcher, and even one-time “Idol” contestant-turned-Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson were among the stars who expressed on Twitter their surprise over the news and their support for the ballad-loving singer.
“I’m shocked, I’m angry. I don’t even know what to say,” judge Jennifer Lopez said on Thursday evening. But Pia isn’t the first shocking elimination in “Idol” history.
10. Michael Lynche: Lovable crooner “Big Mike” was a fan favorite during Season 9 of “Idol.” He was known for his smooth voice and for performing hits such as “This Love” and “This Woman’s Work,” which were both Billboard Hot 100 hits. The judges used their second-ever save on Michael on April 7, 2010 when he received the lowest number of votes. He was eventually eliminated a little over a month later — on May 12, 2010 — finishing in fourth place overall.
9. Alex Lambert: Adorable 20-year-old crooner Alex Lambert made it into the Top 16 in Season 9 of “American Idol.” Alex quickly gained fans during Hollywood Week and was known for being cute, talented, and having hair not unlike then-judge Ellen DeGeneres. However, cute only took him so far. Alex was eliminated after performing Ray LaMontagne’s “Trouble” during the Top 16 round, causing fans to create an online petition to bring him back to the show. While he didn’t get back into the “Idol” house, he joined web reality series “If I Can Dream,” which focused on young artists trying to make it in Hollywood. In 2010, Alex starred in his first music video for the song “I Didn’t Know.”
8. Matt Giraud: The dapper singer and piano man from Kalamazoo, Michigan, won over fans with his signature voice and style (remember those hats?) during Season 8 of “American Idol.” After his performance of “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” led to his elimination, the judges decided to use their one save of the season to give Matt another chance to redeem himself. Matt ended up leaving two weeks later and finished in fifth place. He has since released a handful of singles and gone out on solo tours.
7. Carly Smithson: The Irish-born raven-haired rock chick with the powerful voice caused waves when she was eliminated during Season 7 of “Idol.” Carly came in fifth place, but was one of the strongest females in the competition that year. Her elimination caused an uproar among fans and in the blogopshere, causing people to question “Idol’s” credibility in counting votes. Many fans reported that they received multiple busy signals while trying to vote for her. Carly is now the lead singer of the band “We Are the Fallen.”
6. Michael Johns: The Australian crooner finished in eighth place back in 2008 during the seventh season of “Idol.” He admitted to being shocked over his ousting, in part because, prior to his elimination, Michael had never been in the bottom three. The news, delivered by show host, Ryan Seacrest, was met with many audience boos. “I’m going to miss you,” judge Simon Cowell said at the time. “You’re a very good singer and a very, very nice guy.” In 2009, he released an album titled “Hold Back my Heart.”
5. Melinda Doolittle: Hailed by Simon Cowell as being “incredible,” Melinda was thought to have secured a spot in the finals back in 2007 alongside eventual Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks. When she was eliminated a week before the finale, it was Melinda’s first time in the bottom three all season long. She was ousted from the competition by beat-boxer Blake Lewis. Since “Idol,” Melinda has performed for PresidentGeorge W. Bush (in 2007) and released her debut CD, “Coming Back to You” in 2009.
4. Kellie Pickler: The blonde country cutie got her start on “Idol” back in 2006. She quickly gained a fan base and was known for her killer pipes and kooky personality. Simon Cowell once predicted that she would be in the final three and she was compared to previous winner Carrie Underwood. Kellie performed “Unchained Melody” the week of her shocking elimination, eventually finishing in sixth place in Season 5. Since then, Kellie has released two albums, won three CMT awards, and her single, “Best Days of Your Life,” reached the Top 10 Billboard Hot Country Songs list.
3. Jennifer Hudson: Now known as “American Idol’s” first-ever Oscar winner, Jennifer Hudson didn’t even get a chance to perform on the “American Idol” stage during the final show. She came in seventh place during Season’s 3’s competition. Her elimination was so shocking, that speculation of power outages in her home city of Chicago were partially blamed for her exit from the competition. Aside from her Oscar, Jennifer has won over two dozen awards for her singing and acting including a Golden Globe, a Grammy, and a SAG award.
2. Tamyra Gray: Although Kelly Clarkson was a fan favorite in Season 1 of “American Idol,” until the final march, Tamyra Gray matched her week for week in terms of performances. Tamyra was praised for her powerful voice and was expected to go head-to-head with Kelly to win the title. Redheaded Nikki McKibbin (who was in the bottom three a total of six times), however, beat Tamyra in the semi-finals, which left Tamyra in fourth place overall. Since “Idol,” Tamyra has starred on Broadway twice, released an album, and appeared in the now-canceled TV show “Boston Public.”
1. Chris Daughtry: The most shocking elimination of them all on “American Idol” happened on May 20, 2006, when Chris Daughtry was in the bottom two with Katharine McPhee in Season 5. The rocker’s elimination left Katharine McPhee, Elliot Yamin, and Taylor Hicks to battle it out for the crown. As for Chris, shortly after “Idol,” he was asked to become the lead singer for the rock group Fuel, but declined in order to start his own band. He signed a record deal less than two months after his “Idol” elimination, and has been a mainstay on the Billboard charts ever since. He also became an inspiration for the judges’ save, and is considered the third best-selling contestant of all time, after winners Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson.