By Grady Smith
August 09, 2011 at 06:52 PM EDT

Pia Toscano may have finished in ninth place on American Idol last season, but with the amount of promotion she’s gotten since the show wrapped, you would almost think she’d won the whole contest.

Interscope signed the raven-hared balladeer in early July and released a debut single, “This Time” a week later. Despite heavy promotion and Pia’s recent performance slot on last week’s So You Think You Can Dance, the track has yet to take off on the charts, though.

So I’m sure both Interscope and Ms. Toscano are hoping that the the just-released music video for “This Time” will give the single some much-needed momentum. Check out the clip below:

The video—like most Idol videos that are shot while the kids are on tour—is pretty straightforward. (I could swear I used that exact line earlier today…) Pia sings her song in a series of unrelated locations—a meadow, a beach, a convertible, a city street—and that’s pretty much it. Basically, it’s a three-minute clip of her looking stunning (not that I’m complaining).

But there’s definitely something missing from the clip—namely, personality. Pia looks positively gorgeous when she delivers her sultry stare into the camera, but every time she opens her mouth to perform the song, that connection disappears—and that’s a major problem for an amateur pop star.

When Pia claws the sand on the beach, scrunches her hair, giggles in the waves, clenches her fists, or bends her knees and lifts a diva arm, it never reads as an authentic, intentional expression of the words she’s saying.

Oh, wait, you think I’m missing the point? You’re right. She’s hot!

Jordin Sparks and Carrie Underwood both felt similarly stiff when they first began their post-Idol careers, and they’ve become exciting performers with a real ability to emote. Maybe what Pia needs most is just some experience.

What do you think about the new video? Will it help the single take off?


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‘American Idol’ finalist Pia Toscano claims her spotlight with debut single ‘This Time’