mark ballas pia toscano dwts Mark Ballas and Pia Toscano show the 'American Idol'/'Dancing With the Stars' crossover goes both waysDid we accidentally stumble into an Outback Steakhouse or are there no longer any rules?

Less than 24 hours after “Dancing With the Stars” announced that eliminated “American Idol” contestant Pia Toscano would perform on the April 26 episode, her rumored beau, “DWTS” pro Mark Ballas, dropped by the April 20 “Idol” broadcast.

Ryan Seacrest, approaching him in the audience, sarcastically referred to Ballas as the guy from “…,” then asking him if he was their to support anyone in particular. (The eliminated Toscano was there for a group number.) Ballas said he was a big fan of Casey Abrams. Cue audience laughter.

Now this all means Ballas and Toscano are either…

a) Dating
b) Really good friends
c) Charmingly opportunistic
d) All of the Above

But their participation in all of this isn’t actually the curious thing, it’s their respective series’ encouragement of the whole flirtation.

“Idol” and “DWTS,” two of the most-watched television series in America, have always existed as two perfectly distinct entities — cordial competitors who clearly/probably/secretly wish the other dead.

So when two of their favored offspring were revealed as a possible romantic pairing — during simultaneously airing seasons no less — we naturally assumed that the Montagues and Capulets would rather see the young lovers fall on ye olde happy dagger than abide their star-crossed pairing.

But here they are, giving the duo a double venue to fuel rampant speculation and… wait a minute. Why wouldn’t they play along? Each show is now getting plugged to a huge audience. 

“Idol” and “DWTS,” still ratings behemoths by any standard, have both probably seen the pinnacle of their respective successes. And since the 2011 season sees none of their broadcasts airing against each other, they really have nothing to lose.

So milk it while you can, guys. Just don’t expect us to take sides when you eventually break up.

Posted by:Mikey O'Connell