Pia Toscano
Credit: Frank Micelotta/Fox

Now that the shock of Pia Toscano’s dismissal from the ranks of the American Idol finalists has worn off and all her tears are dry, it’s time to face an important question: What is the 22-year-old singer going to do next?

It may seem harsh, but Toscano’s window of opportunity is quite small right now. She’s the talk of the Internet at the moment, but by the time America gets around to voting off another singer next week (and it better be Stefano Langone, America!), she’ll already be forgotten (just ask Naima Adedapo or Karen Rodriguez).

She’s probably fielding a deluge of calls and offers right now, and any decision she makes over the course of the next few days could affect her for the duration of whatever music career sits in front of her.

So what’s a ninth-place finisher to do? Glad you asked.

There were two main reasons why Pia was sent to an early exit on Idol: The first was her completely unremarkable voice (a pretty instrument, but not the kind of thing that stops traffic, like Jennifer Hudson or Jordin Sparks), and the second was her general lack of personality (she never really attached herself to a genre and also lacked a compelling personal narrative). The third? She never really showed signs of evolution or improvement. There’s one career move that could help cure all of those problems: find some more talented singers and form a group.

No, seriously. It would totally work. While she is entirely competent, none of Pia’s solo performances have really stood out in a jaw-dropping, star-of-the-future kind of way (her run through the Pretenders’ “I’ll Stand By You” probably came closest), but do you remember her kind of excellent group number in Hollywood when she and two others performed Bruno Mars’ “Grenade”?

Again, it wasn’t a blow-away moment, but Pia’s voice did sound a lot better when it was blended with some other ladies. It was by far the work that stood out the most, and with the pressure of having to completely carry every song and remain interesting to listeners off her shoulders, she could allow for her obvious talent to evolve. With the right combination of voices and the right approach (Pia seems most at home with groovy, mid-tempo modern R&B), she could really shine.

Of course, it’s weird to suggest that Pia aim for a second-banana role. Obviously, she’s going to try to go for as big a brass ring as she can grab. But if she plays her cards right, she could totally find a home as a pop star without having to over-extend her already thin skill set. She’ll never be Beyoncé, but there’s no reason why she can’t play the Kelly Rowland role (though she has already missed out on starring in Freddy Vs. Jason).

What do you think? Can Pia make it as a solo star or does she need to find some help? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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