Joanna Pacitti pulled from 'American Idol'

Singer disqualified after link to 19 Ent. execs is revealed

It wouldn't be an "American Idol" season without a little controversy.

Early judges favorite Joanna Pacitti has been removed from the competition even though Wednesday night's episode showed her advance through the semifinals despite fumbling the lyrics of all three songs during Hollywood Week.

"It has been determined that Joanna Pacitti is ineligible to continue in the competition," Fox's Wednesday night press release announcing the semifinalists said.

Pacitti was an early target of outrage among "Idol" fans, who complained that she didn't fit within the amateur singing competition status of the show with previous record label deal, an album and music videos -- a throwback to Season 7's Carly Smithson who made it to the top six last year.

But sources said it was ultimately Pacitti's recently revealed friendship with executives from Simon Fuller's 19 Entertainment, which co-produces "Idol," that got her the boot after she failed to disclose it.

Pacitti is not the first "Idol" contestant to face an untimely exit from the show. An early front-runner in Season 2, Frenchie Davis, was disqualified after making it to the semifinals when topless photos of her surfaced on an adult Web site. Corey Clark and twins Terrell and Derrell Brittenum were sent packing over criminal history.

Pacitti is being replaced by Felicia Barton, the mom who was sent home in the Wednesday episode.

Pacitti's exit is bound to keep fans buzzing at a key time for "Idol."

The singing competition usually takes a dip in the ratings in the first semi-final live shows. A little controversy could keep viewers interested through the "Idol" down time.