Watching the TV show that “completely changed” her life come to a close has been sad for Toscano, but as she tells PEOPLE, “All good things must come to an end.”
Adds the singer, 27, who will appear on the show’s grand finale Thursday: “It’s a celebration of all this amazing talent and this monstrous platform that has provided opportunity to so many artists, so I’m sad to see it go. It’s such an iconic television show and I’m definitely bummed about it, but I’m super excited to be apart of the finale.”
After being a supporter of the competition since she was 13 and auditioning five times until she finally made the cut for season 10 in 2011, giving up on her dreams was never an option for Toscano. And there’s one judge, in particular, who has continued to guide her.
“[Jennifer Lopez] is a mentor of mine [and] I’ve learned a ton from her, especially on the night I got eliminated,” says Toscano, recalling the time she thought it was a possibility she might never work again. But then Lopez offered her some very inspiring advice.
“She was like, ‘I’ve had so many doors slammed shut in my face, and you can never let that dim your light. You just have to keep going and it has to make you stronger,’ and since then, I just get so much from watching her perform and being in the room with her all the time,” says Toscano, who sings on Lopez’s stage at her Las Vegas residency concerts. “She’s a powerhouse, so I just really like to sit back and watch and really learn from her.”
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With two new singles – “You’ll Be King” and “Pyro” – out Thursday (listen below), the singer’s post-Idol era, thus far, has been a “roller coaster.” In addition to pursuing her career goals, she’s experienced “lots of great times, lots of great relationships and then some not-so-good relationships in my life that I needed an outlet for and I needed to be okay with revealing.”[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/255026852" params="visual=true&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /] [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/255027396" params="visual=true&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]
Speaking of the inspiration for her new music, Toscano says, “I used to be a very private, introverted person and I never liked to talk about my issues, and I found that really connecting with the writers I was working with and letting them in with what was going on in my personal life was a huge outlet for me – a very positive outlet for me.”
She adds of her songs: “‘You’ll Be King’ was about a relationship I was in that didn t really go the way I wanted it to, and then my other single ‘Pyro’ is like this hot, sexy, dance, international pop record, so it’s like a feel of both.”
But Toscano has more than just her new music to celebrate: she’s engaged to dancer Jimmy R.O. Smith, with whom she has a wedding to plan.
“My fiancé is the most supportive person in my career – he’s my biggest fan,” says Toscano, who met Smith last year on Lopez’s tour. (She sang backup, while he was a dancer.) “He was like, ‘Listen, there’s no rush. I’m gonna be here. We’re gonna be here. We’re in this thing, so do what you gotta do and when the time is right we’ll start up again.’ So I’m sure it won’t be too long before I start up again, but it’s an exciting time.”
And she’s not letting it overwhelm her.
“Of course, I’m all in with both my career and personal life, so it’s just all about finding the time to balance the two and really living in this moment without being distracted,” she says.
But Toscano won’t have to give some details too much thought: she tells PEOPLE she decided long ago what she’ll wear on her walk down the aisle.
“I think Michael Costello is gonna design my dress,” she explains. “That’s the first thing – I’ve had my dress since I was like 4 years old [and] I know exactly what I want to look like. I know what I want it to be like and all these things, but you need a lot of time to plan and you need help!”
She also expects to be ready for parenthood with Smith – after she realizes her goal of making it to the Grammy Awards.
“I think three,” says Toscano while contemplating the size of her future brood. “I definitely want a boy and a girl.”