TV talent show American Idol is in the middle of yet another scandal - one current pop wannabe is a former shoplifter.

New Jersey native Tatiana Ward, who has been selected to compete in the current season of the reality show, was caught shoplifting $24 (GBP13.30) in merchandise from a Macy's department store in 2002, according to entertainment news website

Ward pleaded guilty to retail theft and was fined $135 (GBP75). She was also fined for carrying a false New Jersey driver's license.

American Idol producers have had to cope with a string of legal scandals after contestants on the show refused to acknowledge criminal and sordid pasts when signing up for the project.

Past scandals have included contestants appearing on porn websites, charged with domestic abuse and robbery.

Last month (JAN06), pop wannabe twins TERRELL and Derrell Brittenum's were exposed over a financial identity fraud rap.

The brothers face being axed from the competition after refusing to disclose their criminal pasts to show producers.