American Idol shakeup: Why was Joanna Pacitti disqualified?


joanna-pacitttiOn Wednesday night, Joanna Pacitti made the Top 36 of “American Idol,” bursting into drama queen tears as the judges gave her the news. 

But—scandal alert!—a few hours later, Fox issued a press release saying that Pacitti was “ineligible to continue” and was being replaced.

No. Further. Explanation.

Since Fox is being so tightlipped, the blogosphere is typing themselves in circles about what happened. Below, four possible theories:

Theory 1: She’s way too experienced.
According to the Associated Press, Pacitti not only starred in “Annie” when she was a kid—she was signed by Geffen in 2006 and released an album called “This Crazy Life.” She has music videos,  a single that peaked at #31 on the Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, and songs on  the “Legally Blonde” and “Bratz” soundtracks. What does she need “Idol” for?
Plausibility: Unlikely. “Idol”  has had contestants who’ve had record deals before. Plus, the judges knew of Pacitti’s history—they talked extensively on air about how the industry had treated her horribly. Cue the violins.

Theory 2: She flubbed her lyrics. 
In episode two of Hollywood Week, Simon Cowell said, “If you forget the words, you’re out.” So perhaps it was the fact that Pacitti messed up the lyrics to “If I Ain’t Got You” during her audition that led to her disqualification.
Plausibility: Unlikely. Two other contestants made lyric mistakes in their performances and they’re still on the roster.


Theory 3: She’s got an inside track to the makers of the show.
The Los Angeles’ Times Idol Tracker blog  says the issue is that Pacitti is friends with higher-ups at 19 Entertainment, one of the companies that oversees “American Idol.” This American Idol blog dishes more:

“Pacitti has ‘very personal connections’ to Michelle Young and Roger Widynowski, two executives in 19 Entertainment’s Los Angeles office. In addition to living in the same apartment complex for several years, Pacitti has also allegedly called Young her ‘manager’ and ‘best friend’ and credited Widynowski with ‘helping me get where I am today.'”

Plausibility: Very possible. It reeks of casting couch salaciousness! If this is true, the judges were no doubt furious. We can just imagine Cowell’s scowl now. Brrrr.


Theory 4: She dissed the show. 
In 2006, when Pacitti was doing press to promote her album, she subtly slammed “American Idol” in an issue of Philadelphia Magazine. It reads:

 “Asked if she resents that TV turns wannabes into stars in five months’ time, Pacitti says, ‘It’s handed to people way too easily. I’d rather have my experience than overnight success.'”

Some bloggers think the words might have come back to haunt her.

Plausibility: Unlikely. People change their minds, after all. And it’s not like she called Paula a drugged-out, Botox-riddled has-been.


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