LOS ANGELES (AP) — In the span of hours, Philadelphia's own Joanna Pacitti went from one of the final 36 "American Idol" contestants to a footnote in the show's history.
During last night's episode of "Idol," Pacitti was named one of the 36 finalists for season eight. But a press release issued later in the evening said that Pacitti had been disqualified and was being replaced by Felicia Barton of Virginia Beach, Va., a 26-year-old married mom.
Pacitti could not immediately be reached for comment.
A few of the contestants in Tuesday night's episode, including Pacitti, flubbed the lyrics but made it through to the next round.
Pacitti, who auditioned in Louisville, Ky., entered "Idol" with a showbiz resume. She had a record deal with Geffen and released an album in 2006. Billboard reports it sold more than 16,000 copies. "American Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi recognized Pacitti when she auditioned in Louisville, Ky.
She also starred in "Annie" on Broadway as a young girl, and sang on the soundtracks for the movies "Legally Blonde" and "Bratz." Britney Spears' tune "Out From Under," from her latest album, was first performed by Pacitti on the "Bratz" soundtrack.
All that experience was enough to draw complaints from viewers who thought she was too polished for the top-rated show, which purports to pluck raw talent out of nowhere and turn them into stars.
However, eight seasons in, "Idol" has selected singers who have spent time in the recording studio.
Pacitti's situation echoed the controversy over last season's finalists, Carly Smithson and Kristy Lee Cook, who had previous record deals.
Smithson had recorded an album for MCA Records, while Cook once had a deal with Arista Nashville. Other experienced seventh-season singers include Robbie Carrico, who was in the pop group Boyz N Girlz United, and runner-up David Archuleta, who won "Star Search" in 2003.