Here is the latest buzz about Joanna on "American Idol"
By M.J. SANTILI
January 28, 2009
'AMERICAN Idol" has be come sec ond-chance "Idol" for Season 8's Joanna Pacitti - and it's got some of the show's fans up-in-arms.
Like Carly Smithson, whose record deal with MCA when she was just a teenager caused a firestorm of controversy last season, Pacitti is using "Idol" to jump-start a dead career - but is meeting even more resistance from "Idol" fans than Smithson.
Pacitti first made national headlines in 1996 when, at the age of 12, she was fired from the cast of "Annie" before the show hit Broadway. Her parents sued and settled for an undisclosed sum.
Later, A&M signed her to a record contract, keeping her under development for five years. At first, she cut songs for several movie soundtracks, including "Legally Blonde" (2001) and "Bratz: Motion Picture Soundtrack" (2007).
Eventually, she released an album, "This Crazy Life," that, according to Billboard's Jaded Insider, has sold 15,000 copies since its 2006 release. Pacitti "was a big priority" at the label, according to Billboard insiders.
By comparison, Smithson's MCA album "Ultimate High," from 2001, sold only around 6,000 copies.
If Smithson was an "Idol" plant - a term coined by the irreverent "Idol" site, Vote for the Worst - Pacitti is a veritable sequoia.
And there's more.
If Pacitti's background in theater and music wasn't enough professional experience, she also starred in a reality show, "MTV's First Year," which followed her attempts at a music career.
To say Pacitti's status as a super-plant has turned off some "Idol" fans would be an understatement.
"She will not be getting my votes," writes AIaddict, an Internet poster who captures the attitude of many "Idol" fanatics. "She has had her chance - or chances - to have a singing career.
"Let's stick to what the show is supposed to be about: taking truly talented unknowns and turning them into stars. I do not like the plants."
"You know that gift that an acquaintance of yours got but didn't want?" writes another Idol fan, Cec. "It sat there, and it sat there. Then [she] re-wrapped it, and presented it as new to an unsuspecting receiver,who didn't want it either.
"That's Pacitti. America: You've been re-gifted. Enjoy!"
More details about Pacitti's past seem to be emerging every day -like the tidbit from USA Today that Pacitti signed a deal right after "Annie" to make a made-for-TV movie about her life.
And it will get very ugly if Pacitti gets in the way of some of the show's male favorites.
"Idol" is a show that primarily appeals to women, many who find their favorite contestant (often male) early on. If she knocks off one of those favorites, she'll quickly become the girl the fans love to hate.
One bit of information that hasn't slipped out so far is how Pacitti did in Hollywood.
The Top 36 semi-finalists - the slate of "Idol" contestants who will compete live on the show over the next few weeks - were chosen during tapings last week. Their identities are being kept secret, but the Internet rumor mill usually does a good job of tipping off fans who they are.
Oddly, there's still no word yet about the fate of Pacitti past the Hollywood Round.
Negative publicity may have kept "Idol's" producers from advancing Pacitti. But something tells me there is no such thing as too much controversy in "Idol" land.
M.J. Santili writes about "American Idol" on her Web site, mjsbigblog.com.