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How did the outcry over Pia Toscano's ouster affect 'American Idol' ratings?

Piatoscano Well, so much for the Pia Toscano backlash.

After the singer was eliminated from "American Idol" last week, many fans protested loudly and vowed absolutely, positively never to watch the show again. Their decision was final! If you doubted it, you could have checked out the, ahem, 925 comments Show Tracker got on a blog post about her elimination, most of them defending her, some even attacking "that schmuck Casey" for surviving another week.

So what was the effect on the Pia-less "Idol's" ratings Wednesday? Uh, well ... none. "Idol" averaged 23 million viewers, according to the Nielsen Co., which was on par with the previous week's performance show and up a big 12% compared with last year's show at this time.

Actually, the Pia example offers a useful illustration of an important truth. When a reality TV show does something that outrages, or seems to outrage, many people, that's not bad for ratings. No, that's good for ratings! Controversy equals good. Status quo equals less good.

So, while it might be cold comfort to young Pia, viewers don't seem ready to give up "Idol" on her wronged behalf. They might have been angry, but they aren't about to tear themselves away.

What do you say, Trackers?


Pia Toscano, post-"American Idol:" Dating Mark Ballas and a record deal?

Pia Toscano, still smiling after elimination

-- Scott Collins


Photo: Pia Toscano. Credit: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters


Comments () | Archives (36)

Pia fans are mad so now we are just watching the train wreck. Lol. Once the Cowell put up his contender up it will be the beginning of the end for Idol. And the Pia fiasco will have been a nail in the coffin. With that nugget of knowledge I will sleep better.

I did my part. I didn't watch. Since out of 23 million "viewers", there are ?? percent who vote (I presume that the producers have a statistic for that), I would guess that most of those outraged about Pia are among those who don't vote. I would also guess that a lot of those who voted for her were also voting for someone else too, so I wouldn't expect much effect on the ratings. The outcome is another matter. I am not convinced that the producers of Idol don't have some control over the results. if Haley was eliminated, there would only have been 1 girl left. Another article pointed out that Paul was the first male sent home since there was a final 13. It would have looked pretty bad if my prediction that it was likely that there would be 6 guys and no girls for the final 5 weeks of the show, were to come true. I am now also fairly certain that the Idol voter world is also heavily populated with C & W fans - which means support for Scotty and Lauren - who is a fair country singer. I am still interested in the results and elimination order if not the actual show. Let's see if Haley is cut next week, leaving just one female for the following week, or maybe the rest of the season. If Haley goes, Lauren will probably be safe until at least the final three. Can you see Scotty (Alfred E. Newman with a great C & W voice) winning Idol?

Once Pia was voted off, I vowed to never watch again....and I didn't watch. And plan to continue not to watch...EVER AGAIN. I removed it from my DVR.
If the ratings haven't dipped yet, it will in time.
Pia was only quality thing on that show...allowing her to be voted off is the begining of the end for Idol.
Not only was she the best this year, she was arguably one of the most talented to EVER come through Idol.

I didn't watch. I said I wouldn't and I didn't. Last week when the "voters" eliminated Pia I certainly got a dose of "reality." I knew this was not entirely a singing competition, but it should be heavily weighted toward that. Unfortunately, it is moving away from the singing and toward the look and performance (=popularity). In the last couple of seasons, there have been many more comments by judges regarding the "whole package." You never heard them speak about that through the first five or so seasons. Now, because of the structure of voting, including the added texting and judge's comments regarding more than singing, this has become a male-skewed popularity contest voted on by a predominate teen girl population and less and less about singing. I watched for the singing, and the best singers are getting booted way too early, so I am done.

Personally, I don,t think everybody watches idol because the television is on fox or whatever station shows it. Some people just have their TV on that station and not pay attention to it.We really don,t know how many people actually watch idol. Remember not everybody votes.

After the Pia fiasco & some of the 'other' foolishness on AI 10 ... best group ever ... they say that EVERY year ... I'm really not totally invested anymore. I FOUND my American Idol during season 8 & even though ADAM LAMBERT didn't win officially ... he's still the BEST that ever came from AI & that includes all the "Winning Idols"! AND there are numerous music EXPERTS that AGREE with me. I'm just NOT interested in the show anymore!! JMO

I didn't watch and won't be going back. It's no longer relevent as it is just a reflection of what little girls like. I was beginning to think that last year and now I am sure.

There were still 8 people left so that means that you probably have at least ONE person to watch for,

If that's the reality then Pia Toscano IS the ultimate reality victim.

And from here on out if American Idol refuses to go back to one vote per phone number (only) there is no relevancy to calling American Idol a singing competition.

It should rename itself the Nigel Lythgoe tween populatiry contest. Ho hum, Nigel - how about it. You AT&T profiteering thug, you.

Pia was a true victim. She did not deserve any of it - and no one cares. Great. Real stinking GREAT. Yuck.


Look as far as it goes she will be a bigger star than all the ones that are left in the competition look where Chris Daughtry is at now!!!! I thought she should have won but oh well she will make hundreds of millions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It just goes to show with Oia's ellimination AI will never be fair. The public votes not necessarily on talent. Let the judges vote on AI. It will be fair.

I still watch, but I don't care as much about who gets voted off or not. I voted for the first time in 7 years (Carrie) when Pia was on. Given I only voted at most 10 times a night, I was voting. I'm not sure people in the 18-49 demo are hard core voters. Which could be the reason the more current winners do not always equal record sales. I'll buy Pia's album though.

Pia was the best talent on the show in years. American Idol is no longer a show about singing/performing talent, because of the number of teen girls voting for their favorite "cute" guy. It is also the reason Pia received the least amount of votes, because teenage girls were jealous of how gorgeous she is.

For those that call her boring, because of her song choices, have you ever heard of Celine Dion? You don't see her trapsing all over the stage, yet she always has one of the highest grossing (in the $millions) concerts wherever she goes.

I have not watched the show since her exit, and will not watch it again.

The only good thing to come from her exit is that she can get a much earlier start to her amazing career. She will be much like Daughtry, who finished 4th I believe, when he was on AI, in respect to her career. I believe she will be much more famous than the lame "cute guy" winner from this season.

Nobody has even mentioned what I think may have happened......and "could" have happened to Adam Lambert, and others in years past.

Suppose AT&T messed up in assigned the votes to the wrong contestant?

As many people who claim they VOTED for Pia Toscano, I don't see how she got voted off. Along with thousands of other loyal Pia fans who took their time to vote (I personally voted ten times for her) she was supposedly still one of the bottom three???? I really have a hard time swallowing that.

After reading scores of comments about how to FIX this aberrant problem with the Idol voting system, I saw only ONE solution that actually sounded logical. Allow the American public to vote FOR the bottom 3 and then allow the judges to pick from those bottom three who will be eliminated that week. OR, they could just allow the person within the bottom three who got the MOST negative votes to be voted off. Regardless, I think it would probably be MUCH more fair to not have to depend on their current voting system to keep the good talent IN the show each week. Let the votes rule in eliminating the BAD talent and let the good ones stay and duke it out.

Regardless of who wins this year, they will not have a better studio voice than Pia. She could sing the phone book listings and make it sound great! It took me a week......but I finally remembered to de-program my DVR to quit recording Idol. Frankly, I don't give a care who wins now. My vote apparently doesn't count........so why bother.

when people first expressed disappointment over Pia's early departure,
it seemed bizarre to me that the producer of the show, Nigel,
would cum off with such "arrogant", rude, comments,
basically saying how people shouldn't be whining about Pia,
when there are worse thing happening in Japan..
Why did he feel the need to open his mouth,
sounds defensive, got me suspicious right away,
then to be so rude, and patronizing to the audience of your
own show, not just defensive, offensive.
Nigel doesn't sound like a very likeable guy, either votes are fixed or not,
so do you believe Jacob got more votes than Jacob?
I don't know what to believe.

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