Katharine Hope McPhee (born March 25, 1984) is an American pop singer, songwriter, and actress. She gained fame as a contestant on the fifth season of the Fox reality show American Idol in 2006, eventually finishing as the runner-up. As of 2013, McPhee is one of the lead actors on Smash. Her self-titled debut album was released on RCA Records on January 30, 2007 and debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, selling 381,000 copies (as of December 2010). The album's first single, "Over It", was a Pop Top 30 hit and was certified gold in 2008. Her second album, Unbroken, was released on Verve Forecast Records on January 5, 2010 and debuted at number 27 on the Billboard 200. The album featured the single "Had It All", which peaked at number 22 on the Billboard AC chart. It has sold 45,000 copies as of January 2011. Her third album, the holiday-themed Christmas Is the Time to Say I Love You, was released on October 12, 2010. The album debuted at number eleven on the Billboard Top Holiday Albums chart while the single "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" peaked at number sixteen on the Billboard AC chart. As of January 2011, this album has sold 23,000 copies. McPhee has also established an acting career, co-starring in The House Bunny and Shark Night 3D, and currently in a starring role in the NBC series Smash. Early life edit: McPhee was born in Los Angeles, California. Her father, Daniel McPhee, is a television producer. Her mother Patricia (née Burch) (stage name Peisha Arten), is a vocal coach and accomplished cabaret singer, and has been a vocal coach on American Idol since 2011. The family moved to Sherman Oaks in L.A. when Katharine was 12 years old. Katharine's mother recognized her daughter's musical talent and decided to train her. McPhee's older sister, Adriana, has been a vocal coach on American Idol since 2012. McPhee is of Irish, Scottish, and German descent. McPhee attended Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, where she performed in school plays and musicals. She graduated in 2002. She attended Boston Conservatory for three semesters, majoring in musical theater. She left college on the advice of her manager and returned to Los Angeles to try out for television pilots. McPhee was cast (during the time she had dropped out of college and was auditioning in Los Angeles) in a mall-based MTV soap opera pilot, You Are Here, playing the older sister of a more popular younger sister. MTV never aired the pilot and did not pick up the series. In March 2005, McPhee starred as Annie Oakley in a Los Angeles-based production of the musical Annie Get Your Gun. McPhee was nominated for an L.A. Stage Ovation Award in the category of "Lead Actress in a Musical". McPhee had a small role as Paramount Girl in the 2007 musical film Crazy, based on the life of Hank Garland. McPhee filmed the role in early 2005, before she auditioned for American Idol. McPhee has struggled with eating disorders. She told People that at age 13, she began starving herself and exercising compulsively and at age 17, became bulimic. McPhee gained weight in college due to her binging. After seven years of illness, McPhee finally entered a three-month rehabilitation program for her eating disorder after successfully passing her American Idol audition; her rehab stint ended just before the Idol semifinals started in February 2006. During her run on American Idol, she lost 30 lb (14 kg) due to eating better as part of her treatment. She told Teen Vogue in May 2007 that "I eat whatever I crave -- I'm just really careful about portions." McPhee and her sister appeared on the debut of The Dr. Keith Ablow Show on September 18, 2006, to discuss her struggles with bulimia and her childhood fear of her father. Also on the show, McPhee stated that she was misdiagnosed with a learning disability during her middle school years but was finally correctly diagnosed with a vision problem that caused her to have trouble reading in class. McPhee claimed she was known as the "pretty but stupid" girl in school because she had trouble reading. American Idol edit: Main article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Idol_(season_5) In 2005, McPhee was persuaded by now-husband Nick Cokas and her parents to try out for the television series competition American Idol. She auditioned in San Francisco and sang "God Bless the Child", originally performed by Billie Holiday and was selected to be a participant in the fifth season, which aired in 2006. 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 (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" 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 cappella and advanced to the top 40. She was angered when fellow group member Crystal Stark did not make the top 24. McPhee's run on American Idol led to the use of the term "McPheever". The inclusion of producer David Foster and singer Andrea Bocelli as guest mentors for Top 6 Week turned out to be a fortuitous introduction for McPhee, as she has worked on various music projects with both men post-Idol. In May 2006, McPhee visited her alma mater, Notre Dame High School for her hometown celebration. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa visited the school and proclaimed the day Katharine McPhee Day. Performances and results (during voting weeks) edit: Week # Theme Song choice Original artist Result Top 24 (12 Women) Free Choice "Since I Fell for You" Ella Johnson Safe Top 20 (10 Women) Free Choice "All in Love is Fair" Stevie Wonder Safe Top 16 (8 Women) Free Choice "Think" Aretha Franklin Safe Top 12 Stevie Wonder "Until You Come Back to Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)" Stevie Wonder Safe Top 11 The 1950s "Come Rain or Come Shine" Sy Oliver (with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra) Safe Top 10 Songs from The 21st Century "The Voice Within" Christina Aguilera Bottom 2 Top 9 Country "Bringing Out the Elvis" Faith Hill Safe Top 8 Songs by Queen "Who Wants to Live Forever" Queen Safe Top 7 The Great American Songbook "Someone to Watch Over Me" Gertrude Lawrence Safe Top 6 Great Love Songs "I Have Nothing" Whitney Houston Safe Top 5 One Song From the Year They Were Born (1984), One Song on the Billboard Charts at the time "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)", "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" Phil Collins, KT Tunstall Safe Top 4 Elvis Presley "Hound Dog"/"All Shook Up", "Can't Help Falling in Love" Big Mama Thornton / Elvis Presley Bottom 2 Top 3 Clive Davis's choice, Judge's Choice (Simon Cowell), Contestant's Choice "I Believe I Can Fly", "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", "I Ain't Got Nothin' But the Blues" R. Kelly, Judy Garland, Duke Ellington Safe Finale Contestant's Choice, Contestant's Choice, Coronation Song "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree", "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", "My Destiny" KT Tunstall, Judy Garland, Katharine McPhee Runner-Up ^Note 1 When Ryan Seacrest announced the results that night, McPhee was placed in the top two., ^Note 2 When Ryan Seacrest announced the results that night, McPhee was in the bottom two but declared safe when Chris Daughtry was eliminated., Career edit: 2006-08: Katharine McPhee album and feature film debut edit: On June 6, 2006, Sony BMG announced that McPhee had signed to American Idol series creator Simon Fuller's 19 Recordings Limited and Sony BMG's RCA Records. Also in June, McPhee performed at the J.C. Penney Jam: Concert for America's Kids, soloing with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and performing a duet with Andrea Bocelli on "Somos Novios". McPhee's Idol single, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/My Destiny" was released on June 27, 2006 by RCA Records. "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" peaked at number twelve on the Billboard Hot 100 and "My Destiny" peaked at number 60. 32 weeks after its release, Somewhere Over the Rainbow/My Destiny had climbed to number four on the Billboard Hot Singles Sales charts. It was the second highest best-selling single of 2006 after Taylor Hicks' "Do I Make You Proud". "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/My Destiny" remained on the chart for more than 58 weeks. In July, McPhee missed the first three weeks of the American Idol Tour due to laryngitis and bronchitis. She joined the tour beginning with the July 28 show in Washington, D.C., singing only two songs "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" instead of the usual 4 on doctor's orders to conserve her voice. At the August 1 concert in Charlotte, North Carolina, McPhee suffered a hairline fracture of her foot when she tripped backstage and was fitted with a walking boot cast. Once she recovered from the foot injury, she added "Think" to her concert set. McPhee recorded a duet with Andrea Bocelli on "Can't Help Falling In Love" for his Under the Desert Sky album, which was released as a CD/DVD package on November 7, 2006. McPhee signed a two-year endorsement deal in 2006 with Sexy Hair Concepts to become their first celebrity spokesperson for their hair-care product line. Also 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 West African nation of Burkina Faso to help combat that nation's high illiteracy rate. McPhee's self-titled debut album, Katharine McPhee was released on January 30, 2007 and sold 116,000 copies its first week, debuting at number two on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart. The first single from the album was "Over It" peaked at number 29 on the Billboard Hot 100. The second single, "Love Story" failed to crack the Billboard Hot 100. In early 2007, McPhee guest-starred in the web series, lonelygirl15 as an unnamed character in the episode "Truth Or Dare". McPhee made a cameo appearance as herself on the ABC show Ugly Betty in the episode "I'm Coming Out". The episode was broadcast February 1, 2007. During the 2007 Christmas holiday season, McPhee released a Christmas single "O Come All Ye Faithful". On January 11, 2008, it was reported by Billboard.com that McPhee had been released from her contract with RCA Records. A spokesperson for the label stated, "She is going to record her next album on her own." McPhee signed a two-year endorsement deal with Neutrogena to become the new spokesperson for their anti-acne skin-care product line. In March 2008, she filmed her first commercial, which began airing on television in May 2008 and on Neutrogena's skinid.com website. McPhee appeared on Idol judge Randy Jackson's album Randy Jackson's Music Club, Vol. 1, which was released on March 11, 2008. McPhee recorded a duet of "Real Love" with fellow American Idol 5 contestant Elliott Yamin. On March 12, 2008, McPhee returned to the American Idol stage during the Top 12 results night of the seventh season of the competition. She performed the Beatles song "Something", with producer David Foster, on piano. After the performance, Foster indicated that he and McPhee were collaborating on her second studio album (though it ended up he was not part of the finished product). McPhee took part in the David Foster tribute concert Hit Man: David Foster & Friends, which was filmed by PBS, in May 2008. She soloed on "Somewhere" and performed a duet of "The Prayer" with Andrea Bocelli. A CD/DVD was released in November 2008. David Foster recorded "I Will Be There With You" for Japan Airlines (JAL), with McPhee on vocals. Starting in June 2008, it was used to promote the introduction of new aircraft to JAL's US flights. McPhee made her studio acting debut in the comedy The House Bunny, co-starring as one of the few members of a misfit sorority. The movie, released in August 2008, starred Anna Faris as a Playboy Bunny who took the girls under her wing. It was directed by Fred Wolf for Columbia Pictures and produced by Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Productions. McPhee released a cover of the song "I Know What Boys Like", featuring the other cast members of the movie The House Bunny. McPhee took part in the concert Chris Botti: Live In Boston, which was filmed by PBS, in September 2008. She sang "I've Got You Under My Skin" accompanied by Chris Botti on trumpet. The concert was shown several times on PBS starting in January 2009. The CD/DVD and Blu-ray were released March 31, 2009. 2009-10: Unbroken album and TV and movie projects edit: It was announced on January 27, 2009 that McPhee had signed a new record deal with Verve Forecast Records (part of the Verve Music Group under Universal Music Group). McPhee guest starred on the CBS show CSI: NY in the episode "Prey" as a singer and stalker victim who murdered her stalker. The episode was broadcast April 8, 2009. In September 2009, McPhee took part in the United Negro College Fund's "An Evening of Stars" concert that was a tribute to singer/songwriter Lionel Richie. McPhee sang You Are. The concert was broadcast in syndication and on BET the weekend of January 23-24, 2010. A 2-disc DVD of the concert was available for a time through a donation to the United Negro College Fund. McPhee joined actresses Alyson Hannigan, Jaime King, Minka Kelly and Emily Deschanel in a video slumber party made available in October 2009 and featured on FunnyorDie.com and other Internet platforms in a comedic take to promote regular breast cancer screenings for the organization Stand Up To Cancer. A Christmas single "I'll Be Home for Christmas" was released November 17, 2009. McPhee's second album Unbroken was released January 5, 2010 and debuted at number 27 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 15,000 copies its first week. For her second effort, McPhee worked with producer John Alagia. The first single from the album, "Had It All" was released to McPhee's MySpace page on August 25, 2009. McPhee appeared on the Jan 19, 2010 episode of the NBC reality show The Biggest Loser (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. On February 1, 2010, McPhee joined over 75 other musicians, including fellow American Idol alumni Jennifer Hudson and Jordin Sparks and American Idol judge Randy Jackson, for a remake of "We Are the World", retitled "We Are the World 25 for Haiti", which marked the 25th anniversary of the iconic song and for which proceeds will go to Haitian earthquake relief. During the week of February 8, 2010, in the pre-taped Hollywood Week portion of Season 9 of American Idol, contestant Didi Benami was shown singing "Terrified", a song on the Unbroken album and written by Idol judge Kara DioGuardi. As a result of the exposure on Idol, digital downloads of the song (the album version featuring Jason Reeves) rose nearly 10,000% from the week before, selling about 20,000 copies for the week, for a total of 22,000 sold at that point. On February 22, 2010, McPhee appeared in the production of 110 Stories, directed by Mark Freiburger at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. She co-starred alongside Ed Asner, Diane Venora, Gail O'Grady, John Hawkes, Malcolm-Jamal Warner and many others. The play was a benefit to help the victims of the recent Haiti earthquake. Proceeds went to the Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles. On March 9, 2010, McPhee performed "Surrender" at the White House, in front of President Obama and the First Lady as part of International Women's Day. McPhee guest starred on the NBC comedy Community in the episode "Basic Genealogy" as Chevy Chase's character's ex-stepdaughter and potential love interest for Joel McHale's character. The episode was broadcast March 11, 2010. In April 2010, McPhee made a TV pilot for a new comedy series for NBC called The Pink House. McPhee played Emily, a down-to-earth Midwestern girl new to Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles. The pilot was shot as a possible pickup for the Fall 2010 season and was produced by Conan O'Brien's production company, with O'Brien as executive producer. Shooting took place April 9, 2010. NBC did not pick up the pilot. On May 4, 2010, a new version of the Unbroken song "Terrified" featuring actor Zachary Levi premiered on Entertainment Weekly's website and was made available for purchase on iTunes. The accompanying music video premiered on May 7, 2010 on the music video website Vevo. In the summer of 2010, McPhee partnered with Feeding America and ConAgra Foods Foundation to help launch the Hunger-Free Summer Initiative, which aimed to help children at risk of hunger during the summer months. Throughout the month of July, McPhee traveled around the country to various Feeding America food banks to raise awareness. McPhee released a Christmas album titled Christmas Is the Time to Say I Love You on October 12, 2010. The album debuted at number eleven on the Billboard Top Holiday Albums chart and sold 1,000 copies in its first week. One of the Christmas album's songs "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" was released to radio in November 2010 and peaked at number sixteen on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart. Country singer Chelsea Field's song "Love's Never Leavin'", a song that McPhee co-wrote with singer-songwriter Richard Marx and producer Trey Bruce, was made available for purchase on iTunes on November 9, 2010, with 100% of the proceeds to benefit the Tammany Humane Society in Covington, LA. On December 15, 2010, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital released a video on their website for their Thanks and Giving Campaign that featured McPhee interacting with sick children at the hospital with her song "Lifetime" playing over the soundtrack. 2011--present: Smash series and new record deal edit: In February 2011, it was announced that McPhee had landed a starring role in the NBC TV pilot Smash, also starring Debra Messing, Megan Hilty, Jack Davenport, Anjelica Huston, Christian Borle, and Brian d'Arcy James. In May 2011, NBC picked up Smash as a series. The series, set as a musical drama, follows a group of characters who come together to put on a Broadway musical inspired by Marilyn Monroe. On June 9, 2011, it was announced that McPhee had signed a new record deal with Columbia Records (a label under Sony Music Entertainment), in conjunction with Columbia teaming with NBC to distribute the music for Smash. In July 2011, Forbes reported that McPhee was number ten on their list of the 10 Top-Earning American Idols (she was tied with David Archuleta and David Cook), earning $1 million (pre-tax estimates before subtracting manager and agent fees) for music and acting endeavors for the period May 2010 to May 2011. McPhee co-starred in director David Ellis' shark thriller indie film Shark Night 3D, which was released September 2, 2011. In December 2011, McPhee became a spokesperson for the Malaria No More organization to help raise awareness about the campaign to eradicate malaria. NBC debuted Smash in mid-season of the 2011-12 television season on February 6, 2012, to generally favorable reviews, scoring a 79 out of 100 on Metacritic. In March 2012, McPhee traveled to two countries in Africa, Ghana and Burkina Faso, on behalf of Malaria No More to raise awareness and to help distribute mosquito nets. On March 26, 2012, Smash was renewed for a second season. McPhee recorded a voiceover for the Fox animated series Family Guy, for the episode "You Can't Do That On Television, Peter", playing the voice of Mother Maggie. The episode was broadcast April 1, 2012. McPhee had a cameo role as a singer performing at a festival for the feature film Peace, Love & Misunderstanding which stars Jane Fonda and was filmed in upstate New York. McPhee filmed her cameo in September 2010. The film was released to theaters in limited release June 8, 2012. In early 2009, McPhee was cast in a lead role in the independent $6 million romantic-comedy You May Not Kiss the Bride., which was filmed in Hawaii. McPhee played the role of Masha, alongside Dave Annable. The film debuted at the 14th Annual Sonoma International Film Festival that was held April 6-10, 2011 The film was released theatrically in the US in late 2012, premiering August 29, 2012 in Hawaii and Sep 21, 2012 in several mainland markets including Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles, as well as Video On Demand, iTunes, and Amazon. One of the songs included in the movie was co-written by McPhee. In January 2013, Forbes reported that McPhee again made their list of the 10 Top-Earning American Idols (she was tied with Kellie Pickler at #7), earning $1.1 million (pre-tax estimates before subtracting manager and agent fees) for music and acting endeavors for the period May 2011 to May 2012. On March 28, 2013, McPhee returned to the American Idol stage to perform on the twelfth season Top 8 results show with OneRepublic where she lent guest vocals to the group's latest single, "If I Lose Myself". On April 24, 2013, Billboard reported that McPhee had begun recording her fourth studio album, due out later in 2013 and will feature songwriting collaborations with Ryan Tedder, Linda Perry and Sia Furler. Personal life edit: On February 2, 2008, the then 23-year-old McPhee married 42-year-old Nick Cokas at Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church.