American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino requested to cut her jury duty short when a case was in mid-deliberations, after informing lawyers that she had to perform at a benefit concert in New York City.

Barrino, 21, was chosen on Wednesday (14DEC05) to serve on a jury at North Carolina's Mecklenburg County Superior Court in a motor vehicle negligence case.

Court system administrator, CHARLES KELLER, says, "People recognised her right away. Jurors started coming up to her taking pictures with their camera phones and getting autographs.

"She's just really nice, down to earth. Not at all what you'd expect."

Testimony took less than a day, and Judge W DAVID LEE sent jurors out to deliberate late Wednesday. But when it became apparent that deliberations would continue into yesterday (15DEC05), lawyers agreed that Barrino was free to go.

Barrino's benefit concert took place last night.