OFFSTAGE: What If Carrie Underwood Had Met Pia Toscano’s Fate on Idol?

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

After Thursday night’s (April 7) American Idol, when the drop-dead gorgeous and golden-voiced Pia Toscano was eliminated , you could hear the world’s collective jaws drop. And when host Ryan Seacrest turned to the judges with a what-the-hell-just-happened look in his eyes, Jennifer Lopez choked back her tears to say, “I have no idea what just happened here. I’m shocked. I’m angry. I don’t even know what to say.” Randy Jackson said, “We’re all in shock. I’m gutted.” And Steven Tyler added, “A mistake is one thing, but lack of passion is unforgivable.” Clearly, the judges had Toscano’s back. Which reminded me of the season when Carrie Underwood was a contestant. She was a lot like Toscano. Beautiful in every way — and the obvious front-runner. America loved her, the judges loved her, and we all know what happened next. But what bothered me last night was thinking that if a favorite can be eliminated from Idol, that means Underwood could’ve been eliminated, too. Think about all the songs Underwood performed when she was in the Top 10 during season four. “Love Is a Battlefield,” “When God-Fearin’ Women Get the Blues,” “MacArthur Park” and “Sin Wagon.” Can you imagine how Idol would’ve ended up — and how country music would’ve ended up — had Underwood been eliminated?

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.