Pia Toscano denies dating Mark Ballas, says they're "just friends"
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/12/2011
Pia Toscano has denied she is dating Dancing with the Stars professional dancer Mark Ballas, claiming they're just "good friends."
"Mark is a really sweet guy. We went out with a group of friends. He's just a really good friend, I guess," Toscano, who was shockingly eliminated during American Idol's live results show last Thursday night, toldPeople Monday.
"He's just really sweet and extremely supportive and he just said, 'You know, better things are to come.' It's nice to have him in my corner."
The 22-year-old from Howard Beach, NY -- who had widely been considered the favorite to win American Idol's tenth-season title -- became the fifth finalist sent home from the competition after she received the fewest home-viewer votes following last Wednesday night's performance show.
While Toscano has risen to fame based on her Idol experience and departure, she said Ballas understands what it's like to be in her shoes because he also participates in a reality talent competition.
"Me and Mark vibe well together because he knows what I'm going through. He gets judged every week and he's kind of on a similar show, only I'm singing and he's dancing, so he's a really nice person to have support from," Toscano said.
Toscano has seemingly been handling her newfound stardom well, despite how her love life has recently become a subject of scrutiny in the media and amongst her fans.
"I really asked myself before I auditioned, 'Am I going to be able to handle everyone talking about my personal life?' And I am, and that comes with the territory of this whole business," Toscano added. "I guess if you're being talked about it's a flattering thing. It's a good thing that people want to know more about you, so I'm okay with it."
Reports that Toscano and Ballas were dating had first surfaced when TMZ spotted the couple leaving a Los Angeles restaurant after having dinner together on Friday night.
According to a People source, Toscano has had "a crush" on Ballas for several weeks and was "giddy" when she realized American Idol and Dancing with the Stars' soundstages were located next to each each other in the same CBS studio in LA. Ironically, the performers also had their trailers right near each other.
After failing to land an introduction, Toscano, according to TMZ, then took matters into her own hands and had a friend pass her phone number along to another friend who was close to Dancing with the Stars contestant and WWE wrestler Chris Jericho -- who then handed it off to Ballas.
Ballas reportedly rescheduled a music video shoot in order to take Toscano on their date -- which went "great" and is expected to result in the pair going out together again, Peoplereported.
In addition, Toscano has also denied rumors that she was involved with fellow Idol finalist Stefano Langone during her time on the show.
"No. Stefano is such a good friend of mine," Toscano toldOK! Weekly on Monday. "He actually reminds me a lot of my family -- being at home. We both kind of have similar backgrounds, so we are very close friends. We are all family, so it's kind of weird to put the two and two together. He is a great kid."