Sunday, October 23, 2011

#92 Katharine McPhee

Next on my American Idol finalist countdown is my number 92 American Idol finalist Katharine McPhee. She is the runner-up of American Idol season 5, losing the finale to Taylor Hicks. Her music genres are pop and R&B. She was ranked at number 14 by The Los Angeles Times on their top 120 American Idol power rankings list of May 31, 2010.

Katharine Hope McPhee was born to Patricia Burch McPhee (known by the stage name Peisha Arten) and Daniel McPhee in Los Angeles, California, on March 25, 1984. She was 21, and later 22, years old during her stint on American Idol. She has been singing since the age of two. She grew up with an older sister named Adriana. She is of Irish, Scottish, and German descent. She graduated from Notre Dame High School, a co-ed Catholic college preparatory high school founded by the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1947 and located in Sherman Oaks, California, in 1992. During her time at Notre Dame High School, she performed in school plays and musicals. For three semesters, she attended Boston Conservatory, a performing arts conservatory founded in 1867 and located in the Femway-Kenmore region of Boston, Massachusetts, studying musical theater. She dropped out of college on the advice of her manager and returned to Los Angeles to audition for television pilots.

During her teenage years, McPhee struggled with eating disorders. She informed People magazine that at the age of 13, she began starving herself and exercising compulsively, and she became bulimic at the age of 17. McPhee gained weight in college due to her binging. After seven years of illness, she finally entered a three-month rehabilitation program after successfully passing her American Idol audition; her rehabilitation stint ended just before the American Idol live shows started in February 2006. During her stint on American Idol, she lost 30 pounds (14 kilograms) due to eating better as part of her treatment.

McPhee was persuaded by her now husband Nick Cokas and her parents Patricia and Daniel McPhee to audition for American Idol season 5. She auditioned in San Francisco, California, with the song "God Bless the Child", originally recorded by Billie Holiday.

After the first round of Hollywood week, she sang "I'll Never Love This Way Again" by Dionne Warwick which earned favorable comments from the judges. During the second round, she performed in a group, singing "I Can't Help Myself" by The Four Tops, forgetting the words, but the judges decided to advance the entire group. During the third round, she sang "My Funny Valentine" a capella and advanced to the top 40. She was mad when fellow group member Crystal Stark didn't make the top 24. When she was told that she would be advancing, she kissed all three judges on the lips.

During top 24 week, McPhee performed "Since I Fell for You" by Ella Johnson. During top 20 week, she performed "All in Love Is Fair" by Stevie Wonder. During top 16 week, she performed "Think" by Aretha Franklin. During top 12 week, she performed "Until You Come Back to Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)" by Stevie Wonder. During top 11 week, she performed "Come Rain or Come Shine" by Sy Oliver (with the Tommy Dorsey orchestra). During top 10 week, she performed "The Voice Within" by Christina Aguilera. She was in the bottom 2 with Ace Young and Lisa Tucker who got eliminated that week. During top 9 week, she performed "Bringing Out the Elvis" by Faith Hill. During top 8 week, she performed "Who Wants to Live Forever" by the British rock band called Queen. During top 7 week, she performed "Someone to Watch Over Me" by Gertrude Lawrence. During top 6 week, She performed "I Have Nothing" by Whitney Houston. She was in that week's top 2 with Chris Daughtry. The inclusion of producer David Foster and Andrea Bocelli as guest mentors for Top 6 Week turned out to be a fortuitous introduction for her, as she has worked on various music projects with both men after her stint on American Idol. During top 5 week, McPhee performed "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" by Phil Collins and "Black Horse and a Cherry Tree" by KT Tunstall. During top 4 week, she performed "Hound Dog" / "All Shook Up" by Big Mama Thornton and "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis Presley. During top 3 week, she performed "I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly by Clive Davis's choice, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Judy Garland by Simon Cowell's choice, and "I Ain't Got Nothing But the Blues" by Duke Ellington by her own choice. During finale week, she did an encore of second top 5 performance, an encore of her second top 3 performance, and a would-be coronation song "My Destiny." She lost the finale to Taylor Hicks, thus finishing as the runner-up.

McPhee's stint on American Idol led to the use of the term "McPheever".

After her stint on American Idol, on June 6, 2006, Sony BMG and 19 Entertainment announced that McPhee had signed to American Idol series creator Simon Fuller's 19 Recordings Ltd. and Sony BMG's RCA Records.

McPhee's self-titled debut album, Katharine McPhee, was released on January 30, 2007 and sold 116,000 copies its first week, debuting at #2 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart. The first single from the album was "Over It". , which was officially released on the same day as the album and peaked at #29 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The second single, "Love Story" , was released on May 22, 2007, but it failed to crack the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

McPhee recorded the song "Let Your Heart Sing" for the soundtrack CD of the Disney film Tinker Bell. The movie DVD and the soundtrack CD were released in October 2008.

In 2006, McPhee founded a charity called McPhee Outreach. The purpose of the charity is to team up with other foundations or organizations and help in any way possible. The foundation teamed up with The Lollipop Theater Network to provide music outreach (called "Rhythm of Hope") to sick children in Southern California hospitals.McPhee Outreach teamed up with Global Compassion Services to build a preschool in the poor West African nation of Burkina Faso to help combat that nation's high illiteracy rate. McPhee appeared on the Jan 19, 2010 episode of the NBC reality show The Biggest Loser, specifically its ninth season,  in the show's Pound for Pound Challenge segment (an initiative to challenge viewers to get healthy while helping to fight hunger in their own communities). McPhee was shown volunteering at a Los Angeles food bank and meeting with children at a Boys and Girls Club and talking about the importance of helping to fight hunger in America. She was also shown singing part of her song Lifetime from her album Unbroken.

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