Pia Toscano’s debut single, This Time – single review

Ah, you remember Pia Toscano – the early favourite from this year’s American Idol who ended up getting booted in a shock elimination when she ended up in the bottom two. The Idol judges were wishing they hadn’t used their once-in-a-season wildcard save on Casey Abrams a week or so earlier!

But that’s how it goes with Idol – maybe people think you’re so good you’re untouchable. And that’s our theory on why Pia got eliminated. People thought she was too damned polished and didn’t bother to vote for her, believing she was safe. Oopsie…

As always, there was a hardcore group of fans who fought hard for Pia either to be brought back or signed to a savvy record label. And for once, a record label answered the call. Jimmy Iovine of Interscope stepped up and signed Pia and now we have a début single. Given that the top two on Idol this year (Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina – I tend to think of them as joint winners, to be honest) are thoroughbred country artists, Pia may be the only alum to have a shot at mainstream success.

The problem – you knew there was going to be a downside, right? – is that the song itself is distinctly uncommercial. It’s a bland-ish, singer-songwriter style power ballad. It’s even more shocking when you realise that Ester Dean – responsible for such immediately identifiable singles as Katy Perry’s Firework, Nicki Minaj’s Super Bass and Rihanna’s What’s My Name – wrote this. In a world where even Kelly Clarkson herself couldn’t sell a single like this, it feels like Pia’s début is hamstrung from the start.

On the plus side, This Time showcases Pia Toscano’s powerful voice and has us craving somewhat better material to show it off. While she’ll probably never pull off the nuances of hip-hop or R&B, Pia could have easily done something fierce, like Katy Perry in her more serious moments. The problem her A&R team are having, I guess, is where to position Pia in a market that seems to favour all-out dance music right now. I don’t have the answer to that question, though. It simply remains to be seen whether the MP3-buying public respond to this tune and justify the decision to sign Miss Toscano.

What’s your take on Pia’s début single?

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2 Comments

  1. canadiangal

    I don’t know Gerard, I listened to this a couple of times and quite like it.  I would consider buying it off itunes next time I get an itunes card.  I think we should be supporting artists who have real singing voices.

    1. Gerard McGarry

      You’re quite right, Canadiangal, it’s absolutely vital to support such talented singers. My perspective on American Idol/X Factor alumni is slightly different though. It’s rare that the fanatical support they receive on the show will translate to commercial sales. That’s why I think it’s critically important that these type of artists come out with something outstanding to grab the public’s attention.

      I suppose I’m thinking of it from a marketing perspective – what’s selling in the charts at the moment, what type of artist is grabbing all the attention?

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