02/14/2008 at 12:00 AM EST
, who briefly dated Britney Spears
in 1999, is now in American Idol
's Top 24.
After singing "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" by Bryan Adams
in the Hollywood round, Robbie faced the judges. "It wasn't unanimous Robbie," Simon Cowell
told him. "But Randy Jackson
and myself decided to put you through."
But Cowell was joking. All three judges, including Paula Abdul
, voted to keep the former boybander-turned-rocker, who auditioned in Miami
with Lynyrd Skynyrd
's "Simple Kind of Man."
His reaction to the good news? Carrico didn't say much and certainly didn't cry like some of the other contestants. He just closed his eyes and put his head back in relief. Maybe it's because he's used to the spotlight?
When Carrico was a member of the Orlando-based band Boyz N Girlz United
, a group that billed itself as "a boyband with girls," his group opened for Spears during her 1999 Baby One More Time tour.
Sparks flew between Carrico and Spears, a source who worked with Carrico told PEOPLE. The couple soon began dating, even making a public appearance together at the September 1999 premiere of the Melissa Joan Hart
film Drive Me Crazy
But the couple split amicably after two months. "It wasn't anything serious," the source said. "It was just a flirtation thing. But they were a cute couple."
Boyz and Girlz United had a minor hit in 2000 with "Messed Around," an up-tempo pop song written by 'N Sync
member JC Chasez
. After the group disbanded in 2000, Carrico moved to Melbourne, Fla., to front a rock band called Missing Pickett. --Steve Helling