The judges were left angry (Randy Jackson), teary (Jennifer Lopez), and insultingly cranky (Steven Tyler, who said, "I don't know, America. A mistake is one thing, but a lack of passion is unforgivable"). Show Tracker called it the "saddest night" ever on "Idol." Even Tom Hanks -- c'mon, dude, have you ever actually cast an "AI" vote? -- registered his disbelief.
The elimination was apparently so apocalyptic in person that a Los Angeles audience usually hell-bent on leaving the Idoldome stayed to watch the sobbing group hug, according to MJ's Big Blog.
"I couldn't even breathe at that moment, so the fact that I could get anything out was a miracle," Toscano told MJ backstage, describing her goodbye performance of "I'll Stand By You."
Some observers blamed the judges for being too easy on Toscano along the way, though it was fairly clear that she was being encouraged to bring her stage presence up to the level of her voice. Others saw it as proof that the voting isn't rigged to keep judges' favorites around as long as possible. And someone must have had an opinion on the role of those Gwen Stefani poufy-booty pants.
"After my performance I felt something weird," Toscano said Friday. "I said to my parents, 'I kind of feel like I'm going to be in the bottom three tomorrow.'" Despite that internal early warning system, she wound up being escorted off stage by two medics, according to E! News.