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Is American Idol cheating?

A celebrity gossip junky, Caroline Goddard has been writing entertainment news for longer than the world has known Kim Kardashian's name. Follow her on Twitter at @GoddardCaroline.

Joanna Pacitti: planted?

American Idol contestant Joanna Pacitti has an unfair advantage due to close personal ties to Idol producers. This is according to a breaking new report.

Joanna Pacitti: planted?Sources close to the show say that Pacitti is close personal friends with Michelle Young and Roger Widynowski, two executives at 19 Entertainment -- the group that produces American Idol.

Pacitti has referred to Michelle as her "manager" and "best friend," and credited Roger with "helping me get where I am today."

The three even lived in the same apartment complex for several years. Sounds rather cozy.

Other complaints center around Pacitti's decidedly non-amateur status. American Idol is meant to give a big break to a total unknown with no prior professional experience, but Pacitti has plenty. In addition to having released a major label record in 2006 (which totally tanked), she has opened for Sheryl Crow and has had her songs featured on television shows and movies, including MTV's The Hills.

In addition, Britney Spears has covered one of Pacitti's songs, Out From Under -- Pacitti's version appeared on the Bratz soundtrack -- and Pacitti has also starred on Broadway. At 11 years old she was cast in the classic role of Annie, but was later dropped from the show after suffering bronchitis. Her mother sued the producers for $50 million and settled for an undisclosed amount.

"It really seems unfair," an insider tells Star magazine.

Could this be the controversy that finally brings down American Idol?

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