Apples and bananas.


The long-delayed debut from last season’s American Idol runner-up is a feisty but failed attempt to position [Katharine] McPhee as the next Mariah Carey. The problem: Her flawless fairy-princess vocals don’t really go with these bold, bottom-heavy tracks. For much of the CD, it sounds as if McPhee is holding on tighter than a bull rider. The more balladic entries such as “Home” and “Ordinary World” (her most impressive vocal display) are more accommodating to her rangy but light voice. McPhee’s first release is full of good material, smartly produced, but it never accomplishes the first imperative for an Idol alum: establishing a viable identity. (two and a half stars)


What’s funny is that this girl from American Idol who many probably won’t take seriously for years to come, showed up and outsang most of the pop and R&B divas of today with halfway decent material. Her voice has the soul of Kelly Clarkson, with a tone that could potentially rival the great Whitney Houston’s (another track from the album, “I Lost You”, was originally recorded for Whitney’s upcoming comeback album) with enough work, yet the emotion and phrasing of greats like Eva Cassidy and Barbra Streisand. She’s got lightyears to go as a live performer, and it’ll be interesting to see if she steps up the plate and really takes creative control on her next album with both a new direction and doing more of the writing herself. (three and a half out of five stars)


Whether she finished thirty-second or first, music executives would have no trouble selling Katharine McPhee. And so comes the eponymous debut record – safe, predictable, unoriginal, but marketable in every sense. To give McPhee her due credit, she is a very good singer. But she’s so unremarkable in every way, that she fails to put a stamp on any single track. Any song here could be sung by Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Jojo, Nelly Furtado, insert pop singer here – and with much more distinction. Brooke Hogan could breathe more life into these songs. Instead, McPhee sings them, they come, they go, and nothing much comes of it…McPhee’s writers take no risks or chances, refuse to step outside of a vendible mold, and this is perhaps the worst part of the entire venture. If they had attempted to piece together a record that didn’t sound like a sorry little sister of everything that’s selling at the moment, they would at least earn points for stepping outside of the box.


February 2007
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What the kids are sayin’

"I hate them all. The judges, TPTB, the blatant manipulation, the songs, the contestants, everything. I'm a die-hard Cook fan, but for the love of god, at least try to look like you're enjoying yourself up there! Please? Syesha was awesome but she ruined it by being completely shameless and disgusting. Yes, being on American Idol is exactly like the civil rights movement, except for the part where you're fighting to make the world a better place."

"All I can say after the disgusting display tonight of favoritism towards the mediocrity that is David A. - good luck trying to market and make money off of that kid, American Idol. (Not to mention good luck dealing with his father.) All the teeny boppers may buy up his American Idol coronation single, but they will quickly forget about him before the album comes out. And I shudder to think of a David A. album - song after song of unrelenting sameness and heavy breathing. Why they are pimping him for the win is beyond me."

"This show was simply a hot buttered mess tonight. And Jason "needs to be arrested for what he did to I Shot the Sheriff. But I hope he stays. He amuses me. "

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