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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 8

Report: 'American Idol' Hollywood Week to include ex-major label artist


By Christopher Rocchio, 12/05/2008 

An American Idol hopeful that has previously has a major label recording deal reportedly received a golden ticket for the show's eighth season during this summer's auditions.

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Joanna Pacitti, a singer who has been featured on several movie soundtracks and released a 2006 album with Geffen Records, will be part of Idol's eighth-season Hollywood Week round, The New York Post reported Thursday. 

While Fox declined to confirm Pacitti's Hollywood Week participation, insiders told The Post that the 24-year-old Mayfair, PA native will "definitely be on the show."  Pacitti auditioned for Idol's eighth season in Louisville, KY.

"This is such an amazing opportunity," Pacitti told a local television station at the July audition, according to The Post. "The music industry is so bad, and [Idol] is such a great platform."

Similar to seventh-season American Idol finalists Carly Smithson, Brooke White and Kristy Lee Cook, Pacitti knows a bit about the harsh realities of music business.

Pacitti was initially tapped by Broadway producers to star in an Annie revival at the age of 12, however she was fired weeks before her first performance.  Her family subsequently sued the show for $50 million, and the case was eventually settled out of court for an undisclosed sum, The Post reported.

Four years later Pacitti was reportedly signed to a contract by A&M Records President Ron Fair, who landed her a spot on a few movie soundtracks, including 2001's Legally Blonde soundtrack.  Pacitti's quest to become a singing star was also chronicled in a 2003 episode of MTV's True Life.

Pacitti later signed a recording deal with Geffen Records and "Let It Slide," her debut single, was released in May 2006 and peaked at No. 31 on Billboard's Hot 100 single sales chart, according to The Post.  Pacitti's debut album -- "This Crazy Life" -- was then released three months later, however it failed to launch her into stardom.

Since Idol only requires contestants to not have any current recording or talent management agreements, Pacitti reportedly decided to audition for Idol's eighth season at the behest of her family.

Last year, Smithson sparked an American Idol controversy when reports that she had previously had major label recording deal with Vivendi Universal SA's MCA Records as a teenager had emerged.

Although MCA Records reportedly spent two years and around $2.2 million producing and promoting Smithson's 2001 "Ultimate High" debut album, the album failed to sell more than 400 copies.

"The rules of the competition state it's if you do not have a contract now," now former Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe told reporters last February when asked about Smithson's participation. 

"Nobody said this is an amateur competition.  This is something that people are making up for themselves.  It doesn't matter if you've had a professional contract."

However a significant portion of the backlash to Smithson's American Idol inclusion also centered around the fact that her background hadn't been mentioned in any of the show's audition or Hollywood Week broadcasts and also wasn't noted in the biographical information Fox released when Smithson made the season's semifinals.

American Idol finally acknowledged Smithson's past during a brief interview clip that aired before her first semifinals performance and a subsequent results show exchange in which Ryan Seacrest and a barely-coherent Paula Abdul attempted to do additional spin control for the show.

While Smithson eventually made Idol's seventh-season Top 12, she was the seventh finalist eliminated from the competition.

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