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Pia & Mark -- A Wrestler Hooked Them Up!

4/10/2011 11:00 AM PDT
Pia Toscano was the instigator of her burgeoning romance with Mark Ballas, and she used wrestling star Chris Jericho to help her score a date. 

As TMZ first reported, Pia and Mark went out on a date Friday night and it went real well ... so say our spies.

So here's how it went down.  Pia and Mark both shoot their respective shows  -- "American Idol" and "Dancing With the Stars" -- on the CBS Television City lot in L.A.

We're told Pia had her eye on Mark for several weeks, but needed an introduction.  So Pia -- who turns out is pretty resourceful -- has a friend who is friends with Jericho, a contestant on  "Dancing With the Stars,"  Pia gave her friend a piece of paper with her phone number on it, who then passed it along to Jericho, who then passed it on to Mark.

Mark, we're told, was more than receptive.   Even though he has an album coming out Tuesday -- he rescheduled a music video shoot so he could go on his big date on Friday.

Our peeps who are connected with both Mark and Pia say they both want an encore.

Pia Toscano & Mark Ballas Hook Up

4/9/2011 12:08 PM PDT
Mark Ballas provided comfort to "American Idol" castoff Pia Toscano last night -- on what appeared to be a date at an L.A. mall, with a special cameo by Paula Abdul!

They were both gussied up as they left Gulfstream restaurant in Century City, as Pia told us she -- like everyone else -- was surprised she got the "A.I." heave-ho.

Until Pia got the boot, they were both rehearsing and shooting their shows next to each other at CBS Television City in L.A.

It's unclear if Mark -- a known chick magnet --  or Pia made the first move.

Idol's 'Haunted' Mansion -- $12 Million Price Tag

4/9/2011 10:00 AM PDT
Must be tough to rent out a giant mansion after several frightened "American Idol" contestants accuse the place of being haunted -- because TMZ has learned, the place is now up for sale ... for $12 million.

The private gated 15,000 square foot home sits on a 2-acre compound -- and features a giant pool, one especially large room with a 28-foot ceiling ... basically marble everything ... and a "motor court" with enough room to park 100 CARS.

In other words, it's the perfect home for scary ghosts.

Levin & Seacrest -- Getting Short with Each Other

4/9/2011 4:00 AM PDT

Ryan Seacrest and Harvey Levin's friendly war of words is reaching new heights -- especially after we decided to play some un-aired video from our "American Idol" segment.

Check out TMZ on TV -- click here to see your local listings!

Pia After 'Idol' -- 'Everyone Was Sobbing'

4/8/2011 3:49 PM PDT
Pia Toscano and the rest of the "American idol" finalists were a crying mess after the 22-year-old's shocking elimination last night -- sources connected with the show tell TMZ.

"Everyone was sobbing" after the show, says one of our "Idol" spies.  We're told Pia was probably the most popular contestant among the contestants, and, "They were totally bummed out she was leaving."

The contestants -- sans Pia -- showed up for the "Kiss Off Dinner" at a restaurant in L.A.  Pia made her entrance after everyone was seated  ... followed by tears, more tears, and then one of the producers put it in perspective to make it all better, saying, "The point of 'Idol' is to launch careers.  Pia, you're launched."

We're told Pia didn't check out of the "Idol" hotel last night, but she'll be out of there today.

UPDATE: Apparently, Pia ran out of tears, because earlier today she was seen out in L.A. with a big, fat smile on her face.

Pia vs. Pia: Who'd You Rather?

4/8/2011 9:15 AM PDT
Here's shockingly booted off "American Idol" babe Pia Toscano (left) -- and the OG Pia, '80s starlet Pia Zadora back in her heyday (right).

Question is ... 

'Idol' Rejects -- We're Going on Tour ... For Charity!

4/7/2011 9:00 AM PDT
Three ex-contestants from this season's “American Idol” are going rogue -- in fact, TMZ has learned, they're kicking off a 5-city tour next month ... and 95% of the proceeds are going to a very special cause.

Multiple sources tell TMZ, former “Idol” contestants Chris Medina, Rob Bolin and Tim Halperin are hitting the road on a 5-city tour, spanning 4 states -- starting off in Toledo and ending in Chicago -- and the majority of the profits will go to benefit Medina's disabled fiancée. 

According to sources, 95% of the money generated by the tour will be set aside for the Juliana Recovery Fund -- a charity set up to cover medical expenses for Medina’s fiancée Juliana ... who suffered severe brain damage after a horrific car accident in 2009.

FYI -- the concert is not affiliated with "A.I." ... but it obviously couldn't have happened without it.

'Ghost' Investigators -- Cast Away from 'Idol' Mansion

4/5/2011 6:30 AM PDT
The "Ghost Adventures" crew will NOT be allowed to investigate the "American Idol" mansion for paranormal activity -- because TMZ has learned, the owner is worried about their negative energy.

As we previously reported, the ghost seekers contacted people at "Idol" to investigate the mansion ... after the contestants living there claimed the place was haunted -- but we're told, the owner of the house quickly shut down the whole operation.

Zak Bagans -- lead paranormal investigator -- tells us, the owner was worried about all the ghost-infestation publicity ... and wanted to ward off any more possibly negative attention.

Bottom line -- the "Ghost Adventures" crew won't be exorcising "Idol" demons any time soon. Boo-hoo.

MJ Family Offended by 'A.I.' Pepsi Moment

3/31/2011 3:40 PM PDT
UPDATE: Idol contestant James Durbin just tweeted, "For anyone talkin..I said pepsi NOT MJ! I have no disrespect for Michael. I grew up singing his art. I guess youll take it how you want it..." and then followed that up with, "Talkin about MJs passing is too soon. Making a reference to an incident 25 years ago..not too soon. The stab was at pepsi people."

Michael Jackson
's family is offended by a comment made on "American Idol" last night by a contestant, who made light of MJ's devastating injury that triggered years of drug abuse.

If you saw the show, James Durbin told Ryan Seacrest after his performance, "I have a lot of hairspray in my hair to keep it from jumping around -- so much so, the one thing I was worried about was having a 'Pepsi moment.'"

The "Pepsi moment" is a reference to the 1984 incident where Michael Jackson's hair caught on fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial, severely burning his scalp -- an injury that triggered an addiction to prescription drugs that may have ultimately taken his life.

A Jackson family rep tells TMZ, "We were shocked to see this. It's nothing to make light of and everybody should be focusing on who was responsible for Michael's death."

The rep says Joe was particularly upset that producers didn't take the remark out of the West Coast feed.

'American Idol' Casey Abrams -- Eat Me!

3/31/2011 6:49 AM PDT
"American Idol" finalist Casey Abrams may not win the title, but he'll always be able to get a warm meal back home -- because dude just got a restaurant lounge named in his honor!

Cafe Aroma in Casey's hometown of Idyllwild, CA just renamed a section of the joint ... the "Casey Abrams American Idol Lounge."

Employees tell us, Casey's such a big shot at the restaurant -- which features belly dancers -- they've even put his name on his favorite dish ... "Casey Abrams Gnocchi Alfredo" ... 6 meatballs included.

Belly dances cost extra -- though we're thinking they'll give Casey a deal.

'Idol' Finalists: The Haunted Mansion Wasn't Haunted!

3/29/2011 4:05 AM PDT
Two "American Idol" contestants refuse to believe the "Idol" mansion was REALLY haunted ... as if flickering lights, a spider invasion, and one mysterious flying bed sheet isn't ENOUGH PROOF.

TMZ ran into finalists Naima Adedapo and Haley Reinhart this weekend in L.A. -- where they had a far more reasonable explanation for their hasty retreat from the Beverly Hills digs.

'Ghost' Crew -- We NEED to Investigate 'Idol' Mansion!

3/27/2011 8:55 AM PDT
The crew from "Ghost Adventures" believes there may be DEMONIC activity inside the haunted "American Idol" mansion ... and they want to investigate the place ASAP ... TMZ has learned.

Zak Bagans -- lead investigator of the "Ghost Adventures Crew" -- insists the alleged paranormal activity inside the Beverly Hills mansion where the "A.I." finalists were staying sounds LEGIT and "possibly demonic."

As TMZ first reported, the "Idol" gang MOVED OUT of the place last week after several spooky incidents -- including flickering lights, mysterious spider infestations, and a FLOATING WHITE SHEET!!

Zak tells us he feels the best way to investigate the supernatural situation would be to bring  the "Idol" finalists BACK to the house so he can use them as "trigger objects."

Zak explains, "If there are spirits or demonic entities present they may have had a connection with one of them ... hence all the activity."

We're told the "Ghost Adventures Crew" has already been in touch with the people at "Idol."

Stay tuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuned.

'American Idol' Contestant Takes Fall After Show

3/26/2011 1:30 PM PDT
"American Idol" contestant Casey Abrams -- who got voted off the show Thursday and won a save from the judges -- was so overwrought with emotion after the show, he began hyperventilating and then fell to the floor in the hallway.

We're told "A.I." staffers helped Casey up and put him in a chair so he could calm down.

Ironically, his song choice Thursday was "I Don't Need No Doctor."

Our "Idol" spies tell us ... Casey felt horrible that the judges used their save for him, saying "I feel really bad that other [contestants] might have to go home now because they [the judges] used the save on me."

Casey had a rough day Thursday.  He got a blood transfusion in the morning because of ongoing problems with internal bleeding.

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