Will Pia Toscano Find Post-’American Idol’ Success?

Experts weigh in on Toscano's Interscope signing and music-industry future.

After much tiptoeing around the rumors , on Tuesday, “American Idol” alum Pia Toscano confirmed what everyone already suspected: She is signed to Interscope Records.

The singer danced around the matter when we sat down with her in April and then again when we caught up with her at the American Idols Live! Tour rehearsals late last month.

“You know, you’re just going to have to wait and see. That’s the goal, ultimately,” Toscano teased when asked about her career. “So we both have some good things ahead,” she added, with Haley Reinhart at her side.

Toscano is expected to premiere her first single, “This Time,” at the tour kickoff Wednesday (July 6) in Utah. The song officially drops July 12.

Interscope signing Toscano came as no surprise to experts who follow the show, and the fact that she kept it a secret for so long is equally unsurprising. “I am going to guess that they waited so long to announce it in order to goose ticket sales for the tour, which starts tonight,” Village Voice music editor Maura Johnston told MTV News.

Meanwhile, MTV News’ very own “Idol” expert, Jim Cantiello, agreed about the timing of the announcement. “If the powers that be announced her deal while ‘Idol’ was still in season, it would have undermined the eventual winner’s signing. ‘American Idol’ is a lot like ‘The Real Housewives of New York’: There’s a pecking order. You can’t crown Miss America before the congeniality award gets handed out.”

So will Toscano succeed at a major label? “Honestly, when I think of people becoming fans of hers, I think of all the ’90s revivalism that’s gone on lately in the alt-rock and hip-hop worlds,” Johnston said. “Maybe the outcry over Pia is some sort of residual result of fetishism for that decade creeping over into other types of music, since she’s operating in a Celine/old-school Mariah sort of diva way.”

“I don’t know if Pia will be the ‘next big thing,’ ” Cantiello countered. “Her vocal prowess is beyond spectacular, but on ‘Idol,’ she suffered from a lack of personality. What will really be a hard hurdle to jump, though, is that she made a name for herself belting massive ballads, à la Whitney, Celine and old-school Mariah. It’s a style of singing that hasn’t launched a star on the radio in decades. I’m not convinced Pia is the one to bring that genre back.”

Do you think Pia can usher in a new diva era? Let us know in the comments below!

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