By People Staff
Updated January 31, 2008 12:00 AM
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If American Idol contestant Robbie Carrico goes far in this season’s competition, it won’t be the first time he has been in the limelight. Carrico, 26, briefly dated Britney Spears in 1999 when he was a member of the Orlando-based band Boyz N Girlz United, a group that billed itself as “a boyband with girls.”

When the group opened for Britney Spears during her 1999 “Baby One More Time” tour, sparks flew between Carrico and Spears, a source who worked with Carrico tells 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,” says the source. “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. Leaving his boy band look behind, Carrico, who auditioned in Miami on Wednesday’s episode of Idol, now has shoulder length hair and a beard. His sound is edgier, too: he chose Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s “Simple Kind of Man” as his audition song.

“It was quite good,” Simon Cowell said, before the judges unanimously sent him through to Hollywood. –Steve Helling

A rep for FOX was not able to comment on American Idol contestants.

Tell us: Did you recognize Robbie? Will you root for him in Hollywood?