Katharine McPhee

Katharine McPhee

3.6 91
by Katharine McPhee

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If fans can look beyond her uncharacteristically risqué album cover, they will find that Season 5 American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee is still sugar and spice underneath her vamp makeover. The unexpected new look, however, does compliment her unexpected new sound. Initially, it's surprising to hear the Broadway baby -- who during her Idol stint…  See more details below


If fans can look beyond her uncharacteristically risqué album cover, they will find that Season 5 American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee is still sugar and spice underneath her vamp makeover. The unexpected new look, however, does compliment her unexpected new sound. Initially, it's surprising to hear the Broadway baby -- who during her Idol stint wowed the judges with her soaring rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and got footloose performing an acoustic guitar-anchored rendition of KT Tunstall's "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" barefoot -- belting "Open Toes," a pop-and-R&B-kissed ode to sexy footwear. In fact, on her self-titled debut, McPhee sounds more like Christina Aguilera than fans will remember. Luckily, she has the pipes to support the junior diva comparison. For instance, the power ballad "Home" recalls X-tina's "Beautiful," and on the simmering, mid-tempo "Neglected," Kat even cribs the Grammy-winning singer's signature "Oh yeah" vocal trill. McPhee's individuality, however, does shine through, particularly when she sings in her upper register, as on "Not Your Girl," a tasty slice of ska-tinged pop, and the tender ballad "Ordinary World." Like Clarkson and Underwood before her, McPhee is one of Idol's most promising graduates.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
From the beginning of the series' fifth season, Katharine McPhee seemed like the ideal American Idol: a drop-dead gorgeous brunette, she was certainly telegenic and she also had a powerhouse voice, equally impressive on a slow-burning, show-stopping "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" as on a lively cover of KT Tunstall's "Black Horse and a Cherry Tree." Most importantly, Katharine was the first American Idol finalist since the premiere season to seem to appeal directly to the show's core audience of predominantly female pre-teens and adolescents, the first since Kelly Clarkson to possess a crucial blend of young, fresh looks, pop sensibility, and wholesome sexiness. All the pieces seemed to be in place for McPhee to take home the crown, but she got steamrolled by the Soul Patrol, as the world's youngest Baby Boomer, the prematurely gray Taylor Hicks, won the competition by appealing to the other AmIdol core audience -- the adults who grew up on the pop of the '60s, '70s, and '80s and were wondering where all that good music went. Taylor's debut record appealed precisely to that audience, which freed runner-up Katharine to deliver an album that appeals to younger listeners, at least in theory. In practice, it took a bit of effort to get all involved with McPhee's debut album to agree to this principle. According to several pre-release interviews, the singer approached her producers and label midway through production, requesting that the album sound younger; specifically, she wanted the music to have a stronger R&B and modern pop influence, so it would sound contemporary, which, in turn, would give her a greater chance of establishing herself as an artist outside the confines of American Idol -- and as Kelly Clarkson proved with her two albums, this could result in greater success both in the short term and in the long run. RCA acquiesced to Katharine, delaying the holiday 2006 release of the album and pushing it into the first month of 2007, but that didn't mean that all of the original recordings were scrapped: some new sounds were added to the pre-existing sessions, resulting in a curiously lopsided final album, one that has two opposing sounds fighting against each other. There is, as Katharine requested, a heavy dose of modern pop here -- mainly, a lot of songs that bear a heavy Beyoncé influence, along with traces of Christina, and the results can be quite stylish and alluring, as on the glistening, exuberant opener, "Love Story," which strikes precisely the right blend of retro-'70s soul vibes and sparkling, stylish contemporary rhythms. But for every time the modern makeover works, it almost as often goes awry, as on the jarringly awkward, rapid-fire "Open Toes," a self-conscious celebration of sexy shoes on which Katharine never once sounds believable; she sings as if she's only seen pictures of this footwear in US Weekly and never once wore them herself. This disconnect is a common problem throughout this eponymous debut album: try as she may, Kat never sounds sexy when she struts on numbers like "Do What You Do," which doesn't come as a great surprise since she was always more spunky than sultry on the show, but it's a problem that plagues even the old-fashioned tunes, which should have been McPhee's forte. True, most of the slow ones here are little more than boilerplate ballads, but McPhee can't breathe life into these songs, so they just sit there inert, sounding impeccable but unmemorable. And that gets to the core problem with Katharine McPhee: as pretty as she is, as talented as she is, she has yet to develop a performing personality that is distinctively hers. That was also true of Carrie Underwood, but she benefited by willfully submitting herself to the machinations of Nashville, where she was skillfully molded into a country-pop star blessed with strong material and strong productions. Here McPhee submits to two different formulas, neither of which are entirely successful because they rely on her to carry the music with her personality, which she can't quite do yet. That these two formulas don't quite complement each other also hurts the record, since it never gels, but on the positive side, the album does suggest McPhee's instincts about going younger were correct. Missteps like "Open Toes" aside, the tracks that truly work are the ones that sound modern, whether it's "Love Story," the Christina-aping "Home," "Not Ur Girl," or even "Do What You Do," which works in spite of Kat's lack of sensuality. These are slices of sleek, bright modern pop that sound like what a young American Idol should sound like in 2006. That McPhee can't quite deliver on their promise for the entirety of her debut is disappointing, but it's not a disaster -- after all, this is just a debut, and first albums are often where an artist shows promise instead of fulfills it. Here Katharine -- just like she did on the show -- suggests that she has the potential to be the freshest mainstream pop singer American Idol has produced since Kelly Clarkson. Even if the album ultimately plays like a handful of good singles and filler, that's not too different than Kelly's debut, and even if McPhee isn't yet as charismatic as Clarkson, this record shows she has the raw ingredients to become a true pop star instead of merely playing one on TV.

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Product Details

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Katharine McPhee   Primary Artist
Babyface   Keyboards
Suzie Benson   Background Vocals
Gregg Bissonette   Drums
Paul Buckmaster   Conductor
Larry Corbett   Celli
Marti Frederiksen   Bass,Percussion,Drums,Background Vocals
Peter Kent   Violin
Doug Petty   Piano,Hammond Organ,Wurlitzer
Steve Russell   Background Vocals
Kara DioGuardi   Background Vocals
Suzie Katayama   Celli
Walter Afanasieff   Piano
Emanuel Kiriakou   Bass,Guitar,Keyboards
Josh Alexander   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Keyboards
Denaine Jones   Background Vocals
Belinda Broughton   Violin
Sharon Jackson   Violin
James Fauntleroy   Background Vocals
Sharon Youngblood   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Babyface   Producer,drum programming
Paul Buckmaster   Orchestral Arrangements
Steve Churchyard   Engineer
Jim Cox   String Arrangements
Marti Frederiksen   Producer,Engineer
Susan Marshall   Composer
Billy Steinberg   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Kara DioGuardi   Composer,Producer,Vocal Producer
Damon Thomas   Composer
Walter Afanasieff   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Audio Production
John Shanks   Composer
Paul Boutin   Engineer
David Channing   Vocal Engineer
Frank Harkins   Art Direction
Robert Ascroft   Cover Photo
John Baruck   Management
Emanuel Kiriakou   Arranger,Composer,Programming,Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Dave Russell   Engineer
Harvey Mason   Composer
Balewa Muhammad   Composer
Lindy Robbins   Composer
Josh Alexander   Composer,Producer,Engineer,Vocal Arrangements,drum programming,Audio Production
Andy Ackland   Engineering
Daniel Betancourt   Engineer
Makeba Riddick   Composer
Corte Ellis   Composer,Vocal Producer
Ariel Chobaz   Engineer
Anthony Focx   Engineer
Nathaniel "Danjahandz" Hills   Audio Production
Aaron Renner   Engineer
Candice Nelson   Composer
Katharine McPhee   Composer
Jim Beanz   Vocal Producer
Riley Mackin   Engineer
Scott Ferrera   Vocal Producer
Rob Knox   Composer
Ruth-Anne Cunningham   Composer
Andy Ellis   Vocal Engineer,Piano Engineer
Underdogs   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Marcella Araica   Engineer

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Customer Reviews

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Katharine McPhee 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 91 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is a great cd! katharine sounds great! i was a little surprised that she went in the pop direction.but oh well.great album regardless.
Guest More than 1 year ago
so im pretty sure this is gonna be the one of the biggest records sold from an american idol..not to say kelly clarkson was not good..but she's over rated..katharine's record will do much better than taylor's and that just goes without saying..okay love you bye!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Im pretty excited for her album to come out! Ive heard some clips from aolmusic and she is pretty good!! Im glad shes coming out with her own album and she will show up Taylor Hicks anyday! (im mad he won!) Katherine is my true American Idol!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i have heard "over it" and it sounds awful. this is not her kind of music. and that cd cover is too dirty. she is so overrated. she's not close to clarkson or underwood. a major dud here folks. don't buy it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't wait for this album to come out! She is so pretty and has a beautiful voice. I'm not say Taylor Hicks is bad but Katherine should have won!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The competition ended a year ago and to this day people still are bitter that Kat made it all the way to second place. The tracks heard so far are great and reach a wide audience.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Since the album isn't released yet, what are the reviews based on? Why can't CD producers put out decent material. McPhee is gorgeous and doesn't need to be posed like a tramp.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Her album is the perfect mix of ballads, midtempos and uptemo fun songs. "Home" soars with emotion. "Open Toes" is young and free. "Better Of Alone" is in my opinion the best track off the album. Every generation will appreciate this CD: your little sister, grandma, or teenage girls.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Katharine McPhee is such an amazing artist! I have heard 4 of her new songs that will be on the CD and I have to say I can not wait one bit! I have no doubt this young ladies Career is going to take off in a flash! I love all of the songs I have heard, all of them have such a different sound, and that is what is going to catch peoples attention and Katharine will again more and more fans by the minute! She is such a sweet person, and a real artist who takes time for her fans and really lets them know that she cares! She deserves all the success in the world!!! watch out because January 30th, the whole world will be taken over by McPheever!!!! WOOOHOOO! GO Kat Go!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is going to be the greatest american idol runnerup cd EVER!!!! i love the review above! it is just outstanding! I'm glad that someone is giving her the credit she definitely deserves
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kat's single Over It is just a taste of how sweet and spine-tingling her debut album will be. her album is different from the music she represented during her Idol days, but that's what's so special about Ms. McPhee, whoever you are and no matter how young/old you are and however different your musical taste could be, she can make you fall in love with her songs. She's fresh that's why she's representing Pop, and with her cool voice and warm spirit, there's no doubt she's gonna dance circles around the industry for a long long time. Now i'm still shocked as to why she didn't win the whole darn thing!
Guest More than 1 year ago
What happened to this singer? My daughters enjoyed her on Idol and want her cd. I am repulsed by her cd cover and find the songs inside unmemorable. She has some goofy song about shoes, for pete's sake! This is not something I will buy for my daughters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is a great debut! very strong! Katharine's vocals shine on the ballads and the uptempo numbers are fun and funky. With elements of old-school Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, and Christina Aguilera...anyone who likes r&b-laced pop and soulful ballads will LOVE this album.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've heard the clips, and she sounds amazing! I love that each song sounds so different. There's only one song I don't like (Do What You Do), and that's saying a lot because I'm pretty picky about CDs. I'm excited to buy this next week!
Guest More than 1 year ago
VERY disappointed in this record. Music does not flow in the songs. Taylor Hicks and Chris Daughtry are alot better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Katharine mcphee has an exquisite vocal and talent. Her songs will be hit after hit. I can see her winning the next grammy and american music awards with this cd. She will be around to stay for a very long time. She is just "magical"!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I find this not at what her potential is. She is incredible with bluesy stuff but ordinary with the copycat pop that's out there. She CAN be incredible to go with her for sure beauty, but this isn't it. Be different Kat! You CAN do it if they let ya. Now to fans..STOP with the comparision to Taylor. He's incredible in his own way and got the most votes (so, should he not have won?..he got the most votes!) Everyone has different musical likes.Those who voted for him say they love his "voice" and music style. More liked him. It doesn't lessen Kat's talents in any way. She's good! They're just different styles. Don't like her going down the road of what the cover is, but it sells.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD has great potential to get HUGE! there are songs on here that can be heard and loved my so many different audiences. Mcphee has really proven herself as a recording artist and is going to be the next big superstar. and she is gorgeous. but her voice shines through so much especially on a few of her ballads--ordinary world, better off alone, and home. and also has fun with songs like open toes, and dangerous. just a GREAT overall album. i would highly recommend it for purchase.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Katharine McPhee sounds incredible on this CD. Her vocals are near perfect. She reminds me a lot of Chrisina Aguilera. Most of her songs on the CD are Pop / R&B and she sounds great singing them even though she was awesome singing her showtunes on IDOL. She really is the one with the most talent!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not outstanding, not downright awful. I'm sure she'll appeal to her target market. "Better Off Alone" seems to be the best track, based on the snippet. Most of the others tend to blend together & sound the same. A bit of a Britney wanna-be sound. She's better when she actually sings a song instead of doing this breathy/ whisper stuff. She's lucky to have made it to second place based on some of her AI performances. This CD is a bit of a departure from what she sang on the show, so we'll have to see how her fanbase likes it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Katharine shows a whole new type of American Idol standered with a start in uptempo r&b music. The album also features amazing ballads that will make American Idol fans swoon.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is going to make Katharine a star. She has everything it takes and this album is the exclamation point to her success on American Idol.
Guest More than 1 year ago
So her single "Over It" is already getting pretty good airplay and rising up the charts and then u listen to the whole album and its like god she cant do no wrong...these songs could all be hits...she is sure on her way to sells of clarkson and underwood..WAY TO GO KAT!!!! U SHOW TAYLOR WHO THE REAL WINNER IS!!!! LOL
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kat has a very versatile voice and it shows in the songs on this CD. Lots of variety and something for everyone. I think all the songs are "hit potential" and my faves are Each Other and Over It. Go Kat!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I always though she was THE ONE on AI5. And this amazing album proves she has everything it takes to make it BIG. Love it! 100% yes! I'll buy this master piece next tuesday!!