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The live performances have scarcely begun, but controversy has already enveloped this season of American Idol.

Semifinalist Todrick Hall was embroiled in scandal last summer when a Tennessee production he played a role in never actually aired any performances, depriving the families involved of money.

More recently, Chris Golightly was booted from the top 24 (and replaced by Tim Urban) because he had signed an exclusive contract with a boy band.

Now, one of THG‘s early favorites might be in trouble: Didi Benami has a connection to judge Kara DioGuardi that some might say gives her an unfair advantage on the show.

Maddie Poppe Wins American Idol
(ABC)

Didi Benami possesses a unique sound and a genuine stage presence that makes her among the favorites on American Idol.

Benami has worked with Jason Reeves, a man she referred to as a “magical genius collaborator” and thanked on her MySpace page last April. The pair wrote the single “Pretty Fool” together.

Who is Reeves? A friend and songwriting partner of DiGuardi’s.

Would this affilation have any actual bearing on the competition? It’s unlikely. But as the most popular show on TV, American Idol must be extra careful about any appearance of favoritism. This is a situation worth keeping one’s eye on.