Pia Toscano & Mark Ballas Hook Up

4/9/2011 12:08 PM PDT

Pia Toscano & Mark Ballas Hook Up

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.