Ex-'Idol' runner-up Katharine McPhee parts ways with RCA Records
By Christopher Rocchio, 01/10/2008
Former American Idol finalists are dropping like McPhlies in the Sony BMG recording family.
Katharine McPhee is the latest former Idol to part ways with the recording company, a representative for her now former RCA Records label confirmed to Entertainment Weekly on Wednesday. The fifth-season runner-up joins fifth-season champ Taylor Hicks and second-season winner Ruben Studdard -- who recently left Arista and J Records labels respectively -- as no longer having a label.
"Katharine is going to record her next album on her own," an RCA representative told EW.
McPhee was signed to Idol creator Simon Fuller's 19 Recordings Limited and Sony BMG's RCA Records two weeks after she finished second to Hicks during Idol's May 2006 fifth-season finale.
Her self-titled RCA debut dropped at No. 2 on The Billboard 200 album sales chart in its February 2007 first week of release, selling 116,000 copies. However since then the album has sold only 366,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.
While McPhee had previously stated her sophomore effort would be "a much different record" -- "maybe more like the female version of John Mayer" -- the 23-year-old has also begun to focus on an acting career. This fall, she finished production on I Know What Boys Like -- a comedy produced by Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Productions that she co-stars in alongside Scary Movie actress Anna Faris -- which is scheduled to premiere mid-2008.
In addition, EW reported "we hear [McPhee is] already in talks with another label."
It's been a rough week for former Idol finalists with regards to their recording contracts, as J Records confirmed both Studdard and Hicks' departures in a statement released Monday.
Reports that Studdard had been "quietly dropped" by J Records first emerged in December, but earlier this week a representative for "The Velvet Teddy bear" issued a statement saying the parties agreed to "part ways to go in a different direction" sometime last spring.
News that J Records -- which merged with Arista in 2005 -- had ended its relationship with Hicks had first emerged via a Friday EW "Hollywood Insider" blog report which claimed to have "heard" Hicks had also met the same fate as Studdard. Hicks and Arista confirmed the report on Tuesday.
Given all the recent Idol activity, EW reported it "double-checked" and confirmed that Idol 2 runner-up Clay Aiken and third-season champ Fantasia Barrino's deals are still intact with an RCA Music Group representative.
"After six seasons, we are proud of the eight artists on the roster who started their careers on the show," the representative told EW. "With respect to Taylor, we have an understanding that he will come back to us to play music once he's finished writing his new material."
Idol judge Simon Cowell spoke with reporters during a Wednesday press conference about the Fox mega-hit's upcoming seventh season and was asked about Studdard and Hicks losing their record deals.
"Based on their record sales, I am not surprised, to be honest with you. I have always gone on record as saying I genuinely didn't think [Hicks] was the best singer that year. He was the most popular person. I am not overly surprised that that happens," Cowell told reporters, according to Entertainment Tonight.
"We always said from day one that American Idol is a reality show, and being a reality show, we reflect the reality of the record business, which is it is unpredictable. Certain people you don't think are going to do as well as expected... and someone like Ruben doesn't do as well as you want. It is not a great thing, but at the same time, it is the record business. It is unpredictable."
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