Jen told me that one of the girls on this season of American Idol turned out to not actually be an amateur; she'd already had a real record out. Jen thought she heard it was Kristy Lee Cook, the girl currently hailing from Selma, OR (the one riding horses and such in the color piece on her).
I came across a link at Yahoo Music a few minutes ago talking about how one of the contestants already had a deal in the past. I clicked it, thinking I'd get the full story on the Cook girl..but no, it turned out to be about Carly, the Irish girl with tons of tats.
In the comments on that Yahoo Music page, I saw a link to a whole other page. This page details all of the Top 24's past brushes with commercial success (or lack thereof)...there are a lot of contestants who aren't exactly out of the blue, never seen before talent.