Pia Toscano kept singing.
When “American Idol” didn’t want her the first time, she returned. Again and again and again.
Finally, on her fifth try, the Howard Beach singer earned the coveted yellow ticket.
Pia Toscano singing on “American Idol,” in March 2011.
“I have a hard time taking no for an answer,” Toscano, 27, said. “And I am a very persistent person.”
“American Idol” made many careers, including hers, but for Toscano it was also the show that guided her teenage years.
“I highlighted my hair just like Kelly Clarkson,” she said.
Toscano had known since she was four that all she wanted to do was to be a singer.
“The first song I ever sang was, ‘I Will always Love You,’” she said. “My sister gave me ‘The Bodyguard’ soundtrack when I was four.”
The Whitney Houston power ballad was Toscano’s comfort song. Her dad would play it to calm her when her mom had to go out.
By the time Toscano was 12, the family was watching “Idol” together. At 16, her dad let her skip school and they traveled to Vegas for the audition.
They were clueless as to how it worked, but lucky for her — her father loved the process of waiting on the lines and mingling with other contestants. It was a skill he would get to perfect.
Finally, when she auditioned for Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson, Toscano made it through.
Singer Pia Toscano at the launch of Jennifer Lopez’s residency “Jennifer Lopez: All I Have” in Las Vegas in January.
And when she was eliminated it was a shock.
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“I don’t know America — they’re wrong,” Tyler said.
Lopez said, “I have no idea what just happened. I’m shocked. I’m angry.”
Still, Lopez invited Toscano back to sing and Toscano wound up going on a promotional tour with JLo.
“I thought it would be a really good time to watch and learn from her and to learn what it is to be an artist and superstar,” Toscano said.
For the last five years, Toscano has been a solo artist.
“I definitely feel ‘Idol’ was one of the main reasons why I am able to do what I do and turn this hobby I had into a career,” she said.
On Thursday, her first single in five years, “You’ll be King,” drops on iTunes.
The legacy of “Idol” is “how it created superstars,” Toscano said. “There were lots of talent reality shows, but none of them granted you with superstardom overnight to have a name and a recording contract.”
“You pretty much had a career handed to you,” Toscano said.