Tag Archives: pia toscano

Pia Toscano helps Howard Beach recover

| tcimino@queenscourier.com

From 3,000 miles away, Pia Toscano watched and worried.

The “American Idol” finalist, now living in Los Angeles, saw news coverage of the destruction Sandy wreaked on Queens, and hoped and prayed that her family and friends in Howard Beach were safe, especially since she couldn’t get in touch with them.

“I grew up there, my whole family lives there,” she told The Courier. “It’s heartbreaking to see them go through this.”

And though she said her family was lucky, suffering only limited damage and nearly two weeks with no power, photos of Sandy’s wrath made her feel “helpless.”

So she came back home to pitch in.

On Tuesday, November 13, Toscano was at Father Dooley Hall, which has become a collection/donation site, to bring food, supplies – and a warm smile.

“It is beautiful to see the community come together to help out,” she said. “There is clothing, supplies, people are cooking. I wish there was more I could do. I really wanted to boost morale.”

Of the long road to recovery, Toscano is touched by everyone’s efforts and encourages the good will to keep coming.

“I urge everyone to keep a smile on their face and keep donating,” she said. “Anything is appreciated.”

She herself will continue to give back to those whose lives were touched by Sandy – even from across the country.

“I am releasing a song I recorded with Jared Lee [fellow “American Idol” alum], a cover of Coldplay’s ‘Fix You,’ and all proceeds will go to Sandy victims.”

To purchase the song click here.

Heejun Han sent home on ‘American Idol’

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Phil Mcarten / FOX

For the second straight week, Heejun Han found himself in American Idol’s bottom three. This time though, neither viewer votes, nor the judges were able to save him.

Han was joined in the bottom three last night by Skylar Laine and Hollie Cavanagh, but it was Han whose Idol dreams were ended.

After host Ryan Seacrest announced that Han received the least votes, Steven Tyler informed the 22-year-old that the judges would not be using their one save on him.

After the show Jennifer Lopez consoled Han, saying she wanted to save him, but couldn’t.

Han advanced as far as fellow Queens crooner Pia Toscano made it last year. Both finished in ninth place in the singing competition.

In his Idol exit interview, Han said he felt surprisingly upbeat.

“I feel great actually,” the Flushing-native said, “This is not as bad as I thought it would be. I feel like I showed what I got and I finished with a high note.”

Han’s performance of “A Song For You” on Wednesday night’s show drew a standing ovation and praise from the judges.

“Finally the Heejun that we selected came back to us tonight,” Randy Jackson said. “Welcome back.”

“It was my first time getting a standing anything and it happened to be Steven, Randy and Jennifer, so it was an awesome experience.” Han said.

One aspect of the show that he said he will miss though is the stage and everyone cheering for him.

“Stay crazy, stay humble and stay with me. It’s only going to get crazier,” Han tweeted after last night’s show.

By making it to the top ten, Han guaranteed his spot on the Idol concert tour that will kick off this summer.

Heejun Han survives the bottom three on American Idol

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Michael Becker / FOX

Queens’ Heejun Han found himself in American Idol’s bottom three vote getters for the first time this season, but survived to advance to the show’s top 9 and keep his Idol dream alive.

Han was joined by DeAndre Brackensick and Erika Van Pelt as the bottom three vote getters with Van Pelt being sent home.

After being saved Han tweeted to his followers, “Thank you so much for giving me another chance.”

Han has now advanced as far as fellow Queens crooner Pia Toscano made it on last year’s show.

This week, the Idol top 10 tackled the songs of Billy Joel. Han previously performed Joel’s “New York State of Mind” last month in his final performance before the judges chose the top 24 semifinalists.

This time, the Flushing-native sang “My Life,” but not before starting with something “much too slow.”

Han entered the stage in a tuxedo seemingly to perform a ballad, but as the piano began, Han ripped off his tuxedo and requested something he could dance to.

In a seeming preemptive to the judge’s criticism, Han sang “I don’t care what you say anymore, this is my life,” during his “My Life” performance.

“I love that you brought a little fun to tonight, that was a breath of fresh air,” said Jennifer Lopez, but added that she did not think he hit the vocal as well as he can.

Steven Tyler told Han he has to take his singing a little more seriously.

“There were still some vocal problems, but as much as you were entertaining I was just happy to see you have a good time,” Jackson said. “We’ve become to know you as a funny dude. I loved that part of it.”

The top 9 will perform again next Wednesday at 8 p.m. on Fox 5.


Flushing’s Heejun Han named American Idol finalist as Creighton Fraker is sent home

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo Cortesy of Michael Becker / FOX

Viewer votes chose American Idol’s finalists Thursday night and only one of the two Queens contestants were chosen to continue the Idol journey.

Heejun Han was among the group of five guys that received the most votes securing his place in the finals and a chance to be named the 11th American Idol.

Astoria’s Creighton Fraker did not fare as well, being sent home after not being among the top five male vote getters and not being chosen by the judges as one of the three wild cards.

“Had so much fun on my Idol journey! More than grateful for this experience,” Fraker tweeted after the show. “Can’t wait to keep writing and performing my music. Much love.”

The Randy Jackson-dubbed “mad talented” Han advanced despite the judges believing his semifinal song choice — “Angels” by Robbie Williams — did not fully display his voice that Jennifer Lopez called “silky smooth.”

Fan flocked to the Queens crooners Facebook page to congratulate him after receiving the news he was safe.

“All for God. All by God,” Han tweeted.  “Thank you guys so much for everything . I wont let you down.”

This is the second year in a row a Queen resident advanced to American Idol’s finals. Howard Beach’s Pia Toscano made it all the way to the top 9.

The Flushing resident will continue his Idol odyssey on Wednesday at 8 p.m. on Fox 5 as he and his 13 fellow finalists will perform.