Philadelphia's Joanna Pacitti was disqualified from American Idol last night - after the broadcast show declared her one of the talent competition's Top 36.

"It has been determined that Joanna Pacitti is ineligible to continue in the competition. American Idol contestant Felicia Barton has replaced Ms. Pacitti as part of the Top 36," according to a Fox press release.

The Los Angeles Times website reports that "a source close to the show has said that Pacitti was disqualified to 'avoid the appearance of impropriety.' "

"In the past week, tabloids had been reporting on a private relationship between Pacitti and executives of 19 Management - one of the companies which oversees Idol," the report continues.

On Feb. 5, posted a story with this paragraph: "An insider tells Star that Michelle Young and Roger Widynowski have very personal connections to the Idol hopeful .... 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."

Attempts this morning to reach Pacitti and Fox representatives to discuss the disqualification were unsuccessful.

Pacitti, 24, made the final 54 despite flubbing the lyrics to "If I Ain't Got You."

Her performance was mocked by a YouTube video, titled "Joanna Pacitti Hollywood Disaster, Translated," which suggested she was singing lines such as "Oh, things that blee" and "will the dead tell me."

Pacitti also came under fire from Idol fans for a resume that includes professional credentials.

She has had two record deals and as an 11-year-old won a Macy's contest to be cast in a Broadway-bound production of Annie.

She appeared in many shows, but before the show hit Broadway, she developed bronchitis and was dropped. Her parents sued for breach of contract, and won a sizeable settlement, according to a 2001 report.

Two years ago, Pacitti sounded positive about the Annie setback: "It's the best thing that ever happened to me," she said. "It made me realize I didn't want to do musical theater and helped me see that I wanted to write my own music, instead of acting."

Three other singers with local ties are also out of the Fox competition.

Havertown's Kenny Hoffpauer, Burlington's Markese Morris and Magnolia's Brianna Horne were among 147 wannabes invited to Hollywood, but the three failed to make the final 36.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or