Joanna Pacitti can't catch a break. Literally.
After making it through last night to American Idol's round of 36, the 23-year-old aspiring popster was sent packing this morning, disqualified because of her previous professional experience—and an apparently close relationship with 19 Television, the company that produces the hit Fox reality competition.
"It has been determined that Joanna Pacitti is ineligible to continue in the competition. American Idol contestant Felicia Barton has replaced Ms. Pacitti as part of the top 36," reads an editor's note in a Fox press release from early this morning.
Barton was shown getting the boot during last night's "green-mile episode" in which contestants participated in a "sing-off" in the hopes of being a semifinalist.
Pacitti made the cut. However a number of tabloid reports surfaced in recent days that the singer wasn't exactly the amateur she claimed to be in violation of Idol's rules.
John M. Heller/Getty Images, Fox
For one, Pacitti had signed to A&M Records when she was 16, released a single, "Let It Slide," and some of her songs were even featured in the soundtracks to such movies as Legally Blonde and First Daughter.
Of course, there have been other contestants who had lots of pro experience, notably last year's finalist Carly Smithson, who released the album Ultimate High on MCA Records in 2001.
But there was more to Pacitti's backstory than modest musical success.
There was, according to Star magazine, what appeared to be a serious conflict of interest. Pacitti reportedly resided in the same apartment building as 19 executives Roger Widnynowski and Michelle Young and even once called the Widnyowski her "best friend."
Hoping to stanch the controversy, producers opted to bring back Barton, who was eliminated with a definitive "no" by the judging panel but deemed the most deserving of the 86'd contestants.
Pacitti could not be reached for comment.