She didn't win the fifth season of American Idol, but California singer Katharine McPhee still shined enough to warrant a record deal with the show's creator, Simon Fuller.
Following the lead of winner Taylor Hicks, who signed a contract last week, McPhee agreed yesterday to a pact deal Fuller's 19 Recordings Limited and Clive Davis' RCA Records. On June 27, the label plans to release McPhee's first commercial single -- a double-A side who the tracks "Over the Rainbow" and "My Destiny." The 22-year old, whose voice (and breasts) became a sensation over the course of the season, performed both on the May 23 Idol finale.
How Katharine lost to this guy Hicks is beyond us, but the people of America have spoken, and all the sane ones among us can do is learn to live with their egregious mistake for the next four years. Oh, sorry. This wasn't the presidential election. Never mind.
In any case, weeks before McPhee's single hits the shelves, 19 Records will be releasing Hicks' "Do I Make You Proud," which he sang during the finale, and its B-side, a cover of the Doobie Brothers classic "Takin' It to the Streets." His hair will be gray on the cover, in all likelihood.
When announcing Hicks' deal, the label said his debut album would surface later this year. No plans for a full-length album have been leaked yet for McPhee, who also intends to pursue an acting career. Hicks, McPhee and the other Top 10 finalists from this past season will team up for a 60-date summer tour that kicks off July 5.
And so the Idol factory rages on. To date, 20 contestants have appeared on the Billboard album and/or singles charts, and the show's winners/runners-up have sold a combined total of 33 million records. That figure includes music from Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Fantasia, Carrie Underwood, Ruben Studdard and Bo Bice.