“The producers do the background checks right around [the] Hollywood [round],” Seacrest said. “When they see something that stands out, they have to address it. And they saw something, and there was apparently some sort of a link that, somewhere along the line, could be construed as one that’s close to the competition, and they didn’t want to risk it.”
Of course, as noted Idol watchers (and anyone reading this blog) know, the Hollywood Round is actually all sewn up in November. Sure, Ryan’s 8,434 other jobs might have resulted in him not being 100% up on what month it is right now, but he doesn’t have to lie.
Either way, is Felicia Barton having the best Idol contestant run ever or what? Sure, she may not have been as pimped as Danny Gokey or (ugh) Tatiana, but she probably has more name recognition among non-diehards than even Kara DioGuardi at this point.
During last night’s episode of American Idol—which, thanks to its mansion location, had a weird sort of Joe Millionaire feeling to the proceedings—major-label refugee Joanna Pacitti was shown as making it through to the circle of 36 semifinalists, while Felicia Barton, a Virginia mom and “bar singer” who also sings in her church, got sent packing. But when the official press release announcing the semifinalists went out and Fox updated its official site, Pacitti was out and Barton was in, and Fox put out a cryptic note saying that the powers that be had deemed the “Let It Slide” singer officially ineligible for the competition. What happened?
A not-very-wise man told me over and over before I took this job that the music business is “all about relationships,” and it would appear that Pacitti had a couple of very close ones with some higher-ups at Idol production company 19 Entertainment. Star went so far as to call it “the biggest Idol scandal ever” during its breathless reportage:
An insider tells Star that Michelle Young and Roger Widynowski have very personal connections to the Idol hopeful, all of which we detail in our can’t miss story. How personal? Well, Joanna has referred to Michelle as her “manager” and “best friend,” and credited Roger with “helping me get where I am today.” Plus, the three of them even lived in the same L.A. apartment complex for several years.
Having two ins with Idol’s production company could give the 24-year-old wannabe star – seen as a shoo-in for the final 36 – an advantage that the rest of the contestants don’t have.
“It really seems unfair,” an insider tells Star.
And something did seem fishy about Pacitti making it through to the semifinals despite bluffing nearly every song featured in her Hollywood Week montage, while other worthy singers got the boot. (Never mind her calling herself “unemployed”—if she was really still an aspiring entertainer, wouldn’t she be trying to puff up her profile as much as possible?) The Los Angeles Times‘ Idol blog has a source saying that the producers wanted to avoid “the appearance of impropriety,” although I wonder if it’s a little too late for that.
Anyway, here’s hoping someone uncovers the dirt on why Tatiana Del Toro keeps making it through soon! Because she is seriously the worst.
Ann Marie Boskovich
Arianna Ayesha Afsar
Jessica Langseth Joanna Pacitti
Michael *unsure of last name- probably Michael Bartul
Nate McGee (listed as Nathaniel Marshall on the AI site)
Nick Western (the only one not listed on the AI site- possibly could be Nick Hendrix from Orlando?)
Tatiana Del Toro Von Smith
Yesterday, two pieces of distressing American Idol-related news crossed the transom: First, word that the Tuesday night episode had an eight-million-viewer week-to-week drop (although I wonder if that was because a lot of eyeballs got leeched away from Obamamania on ABC); and second, this year’s results shows will be back to their bloated hour-long length and up against the full hour Lost (?!??!?!!). (Argh, Fox, you told us they’d only be 30 minutes! Booooo!!) The Idol producers decided to celebrate this news with… an episode that opened with a hopeful emerging from a Porta-Potty, and went right into a girl with really bad eye makeup and a startling British/Southern accent.
The first “real” contesant was Joanna “Joanna” Pacitti, this season’s official major-label refugee. Thanks to Kara DioGuardi’s time in the songwriting salt mines, she was recognized upon entering the audition room and her deal with A&M was brought out in the open straightaway, in stark contrast to last year’s Carly Hennessy/Smithson nontroversy. (OK, the “I know youuuuu!” bit was probably sorta staged, but this is a better type of dishonesty, I think.) Pacitti’s version of “We Belong” was, unsurprisingly, competent enough for her to make it through, although I do wonder if she also sang a few bars of “Let It Slide” before getting the green light to Hollywood:
NOT AS FUNNY IN CONTEXT: Hey, how about that country singer who told the judges to “be careful” on the occasion of his getting the heave-ho? I’m going to guess that Paula asked her security detail to carry around some of those baseball bats that were being displayed during some of the “ambiance” segment.
ACTUALLY NOTHING IS FUNNY: The fat guy doing the Michael Jackson hip-shakes? The guy in King Diamond makeup who was really femmy? The cross-eyed dude who looked like the lead singer of the Escape Club? American Idol, I want to like you, and when you have people on the show like Matt Giraud, who calls himself a “dueling piano player” and who had a friend wearing an Unknown Pleasures t-shirt (OK she probably got it at Urban Outfitters, but still) and whose voice had a sandy quality and would probably be a lot more enjoyable when not singing Gavin DeGraw, I do. But all this bullshit, this filler, this stuff that you have to plug into your shows because Fox is flipping out about the gradual erosion of network television’s prominence (which is ironic in itself given the way it came on the scene and basically started the whole screwing-things-up-for-the-big-three chain back in the day) while you’re meanwhile giving 73 seconds of airtime to people who the public can maybe root for in the coming weeks is making it really, really hard. And now you have to go up against Lost? Which is basically your antithesis in the way that every minute of it is essential to understanding it overall, unlike your results shows, which are basically 59 minutes of Ford ads and promos for albums that are probably going to “underperform” in today’s climate and inane audience questions leading into one minute—hell, maybe even 30 seconds!—of stuff that’s essential to the show’s overall plotline?
In preparation for giving my weeknights over to yet another season of American Idol, I’ve been reading up on the rumored contestants for the coming season, and how many of their names will be vaguely familiar. Rumor has it that we’ll be seeing a Castro (Jason’s brother), an Osmond (Donny & Marie’s nephew), and a former Miss New York crossing our TVs during the early episodes of Season Eight. But one name that probably won’t stick out to a lot of people is Joanna—as in Joanna Pacitti, a singer who was outed by The New York Post as a formerly frustrated Annie who had an ill-fated dalliance with Geffen not even two years ago.
“Let It Slide,” above, was the lone single from This Crazy Life, the album on which Pacitti went by her first name only. It peaked at No. 31 on the Heatseekers chart (the chart reserved for artists who never hit the top 100 on SoundScan’s big board) and had tracks by Diane Warren and Linda Perry, as well as her cover of Dashboard Confessional’s “Screaming Infidelities”:
Sure, I grew to like Carly Smithson last year, even with her major-label past, and I suspect Pacitti’s past will at least result her in having a tougher exterior than at least a few of the other hopefuls. (There has to be at least one guy who makes it through to Hollywood who doesn’t have some sort of culture-industry past, right?) But I really, really hope that none of the powers that be at Idol get inspired to throw Emo Week after finding this particular clip.