Joanna Pacitti, the American Idol season 8 hopeful who was shown advancing to the top 36 on Wednesday night’s telecast (click here for the full recap), has been booted from the competition and replaced by 26-year-old Felicia Barton. "It has been determined that Joanna Pacitti is ineligible to continue in the competition," stated a Fox press release sent early Thursday morning announcing the show’s full roster of semifinalists.
For the last several weeks, Pacitti has been the subject of Internet chatter regarding her former deal with A&M Records, which yielded the single "Let It Slide" (embedded below), and more recently, for her rumored close relationship with a pair of 19 Entertainment executives. Specifically, Star magazine reported that Pacitti lived for a time in the same apartment building as 19’s Michelle Young and Roger Widynowski, even referring to the former exec as her "best friend"; 19, of course, is the production company behind Idol.
Barton, meanwhile, was shown getting eliminated by the judges during Wednesday night’s final Hollywood Week telecast, although a brief clip of her singing "Put Your Records On" during the Louisville, KY, audition round had created a decent mount of buzz among Idol watchers. (Read our recap of that episode, including a mention of Barton, by clicking here; and check out a YouTube clip of Barton covering Alicia Keys’ "No One" embedded beneath Pacitti’s video.)
Check back later tonight and tomorrow morning at EW.com for further updates.
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