"American Idol" boots off Joanna Pacitti

Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:05pm EST
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Controversial "American Idol" contestant and former child star Joanna Pacitti has been booted off the talent show, apparently due to her past in the music business.

Pacitti, 23, was put through to the Top 36 in an episode of the show broadcast on Wednesday, but her name was missing from a Fox television news release late on Wednesday on the Top 36.

"It has been determined that Joanna Pacitti is ineligible to continue in the competition," the statement said, adding that Felicia Barton had taken her place.

Pacitti has had Idol fans buzzing for weeks because of a previous record deal and a role in a professional production of "Annie" that many thought was at odds with the talent show's bid to discover new talent.

Fox could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday but the Los Angeles Times quoted a source saying she was cut to "avoid the appearance of impropriety."

Tabloid Star magazine reported last week that Pacitti had more professional experience than initially thought.

Star also said that Pacitti had ties with two executives with 19 Entertainment, the company that produces "American Idol." Pacitti had credited one of the 19 executives on notes for her 2006 album "This Crazy Life", Star reported.

Wednesday's "Idol" episode was recorded several weeks before being broadcast.   Continued...

<p>The "American Idol" logo in a file photo. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>