"Honestly, I don't know what happened," a still emotional Lopez said. "The only thing I could think is that people thought she was safe as I did. I thought she'd be around at least for the top five, maybe even the top two. I don't know."
So what else was going through her mind?
"Maybe it was something that wasn't connecting that we didn't see," she added. "But I'm really, really surprised and I'm still shocked."
Ryan then asked J.Lo what she told Pia when she went up onstage shortly after the latter got the bad news.
"I was just trying to let her know that we were pushing her every week because we thought that she was one of the safe ones, the ones that were gonna come back again and again and again, and we wanted her to get ready for that," said Lopez. "And that to be honest, in this business, there's always doors that are slammed in your face—I've had tons of doors slammed in my face—and I told her to stay pure in her heart, to have faith and to know that if this wasn't the path for her, that there was something bigger for her. That there is something bigger for her. And I believe that."
The multihyphenate entertainer compared watching Toscano through the competition to a teacher dealing with a "prized student."
"Your hardest on them because you know they have the most potential," said Lopez. "It was kind of like that with me with her...I wanted her to shine and...I'm still upset about it."
Jennifer revealed she was "shaking" and afterward sat in her trailer thinking she still couldn't "believe Pia got voted off at number nine!"
She's not the only one feeling that way.
"I can not believe they just eliminated pia ! ReAlly..????" tweeted Idol alum Jennifer Hudson, who was also criminally ousted early on but later got her commercial revenge with a successful acting and singing career. "Long as she walked away with that voice she will be alright !! Just hate to see talent like that go!"
Added Idol vet Daughtry, himself eliminated early: "What the crap!!?? I thought Pia was THE best singer on the show this year!"
Other celebs chimed in with their displeasure.
The night did have one bright spot. When quizzed by Seacrest on Iggy Pop's shirtless attempt at seducing the diva by leaning over her lap, Lopez called it a "good moment for me that I'll always remember."
"He's legendary," she giggled. "Like Steven said, 'one in a million'!"