American Idol fans think the show broke its own eligibility rules last Sunday, and the artist who benefited is furious.

The controversy surrounds Julia Davo's unsuccessful audition, during which best friend Alyssa Raghu joined her.

A video titled "Alyssa Raghu Returns! Sneaks in on Julia Davo's Audition" shows what aired on television, but Raghu says the 7-and-a-half-minute-long clip mischaracterizes the audition and her attempt.

  • Raghu earned a ticket to Hollywood twice before and was a Top 10 finalist during Season 17.
  • During a lengthy Instagram response, she says one of the show's producers learned she was waiting on Davo and literally dragged her in front of judges.
  • Furthermore, she says the final edit pitted the women against each other.

Davo sings "Life on Mars?" by David Bowie as an interview package re-introduces viewers to Raghu, who was also part of Season 16. Judges Katy Perry and Luke Bryan recognized her talent, but were cool on her potential for this season. Lionel Richie voted "yes."

Related: 10 Things American Idol Doesn't Want You to Know

Next, Raghu comes waltzing in for a big group hug and the four catch up. She suggests one more song "for giggles." If her accusations of improper editing are true, it's all one heck of an edit — although there is a point at 5:38 where it's stunning to see her seemingly competing for a spot in Hollywood.

On Instagram, Raghu says they were considering having her go to Hollywood as a means to mentor her friend, but in the end the three judges said "yes" to her and "no" to Davo.

"I'm 21, I love breaking rules," she says, spinning.

Fans were quick to point out a big problem.

For years, Top 10 finalists weren't allowed to audition again, but that changed for Season 20 of American Idol in 2022. Now, anyone but past winners can audition again — quick, someone see what Justin Guarini is up to!

"It's important to understand that reality TV prioritizes creating dramatic moments and narratives to attract viewers, even if it means distorting the truth," Raghu says.

She stopped short of saying she'd decline her Hollywood invite, although she doubled-down on her on screen promise to Davo that she'd tear up the invite if that's what she wanted.

10 'American Idol' Secrets They Don't Want You to Know

Iam Tongi may have won Season 21 of American Idol, but he was not the show's real winner. This list of 10 American Idol secrets includes a look into his future, as well as a peek behind the curtain of America's most successful reality television show.

Gallery Credit: Billy Dukes

More From Taste of Country