The April 7 decision by American Idol viewers to boot Pia Toscano — the fifth woman in a row to exit in season 10 — underscores a disappointing trend that has dogged the Fox show for several years. A woman hasn’t won since Jordin Sparks took the title in season 6, and last year’s Crystal Bowersox was only the first female runner-up since 2006. Shocking ousters have always been part of the show — Jennifer Hudson in season 3? — but the recent exodus of ladies raises the question: Does the young, female Idol nation have a problem with young, female Idol singers? (Of Idol‘s total viewership of 25.1 million, 15.5 million are women — 19 percent of them are ages 18 — 34, and 5 percent 12 — 17.) Rosalind Wiseman, the author of the best-selling book about teen girls Queen Bees & Wannabes, thinks the voting results have more to do with cute boys than cattiness, especially when it comes to younger voters. ”It’s about fixations that girls get, especially on singers, and that’s why they are voting more adamantly for the boys,” Wiseman tells EW. And while fewer than one million girls ages 12 — 17 watch Idol, they’re more likely to vote about one bazillion times for Scotty McCreery.
That’s probably not much of a consolation for Toscano, who’s arguably a bigger talent than contestants Stefano Langone and Jacob Lusk, who outlasted her. Too bad an Internet campaign to bring her back is futile: A Fox insider says Idol is not going to overrule America. (Exec producer Nigel Lythgoe even gave an interview recently saying the 22-year-old was never a front-runner.) Don’t feel too sorry for Toscano, though. She’ll tour with the Idols this summer, and she’s also fielding calls from hair-care and makeup companies for possible endorsement deals.