Before the night is over, either Katharine McPhee or Taylor Hicks will be crowned the next American Idol. But the two finalists are already thinking about their next star-bound steps, and recently talked about their future albums, good luck charms and what made them want to be on American Idol in the first place.
Did you think you’d make it this far?
Katharine: I thought, “I can make top 12. I can do this.” I always imagined it – but you don’t really know that it can happen. So no, I guess I didn’t. When I talk to my family and friends, I’m like, “I made it to top two – can you believe it?”
Taylor: When I told my dad, “I’m trying out for American Idol,” he said, “Well, why don’t you just go buy a lottery ticket?” But my friends have been very supportive through the whole process. They’re just as excited as I am.
Do you have a good luck charm?
Katharine: I don’t have any gimmicks. I just go out there and look fabulous and try to sing my best. I try to be as modest as I can possibly be, because I know that people will think, “Oh, well she’s too confident.” But I’m really not; I’m just going out there and doing my thing.
Taylor: Sometimes when I’m moving around a lot onstage or I’m not playing my harmonica, I don’t have it on me. But I keep the harmonica around.
Why did you audition for Idol?
Katharine: I was in this pop-rock musical over the summer. I was doing backup stuff and people were like, “Oh my gosh, you should totally audition for American Idol.” I was like, wow, I really should audition. So I just drove up (to San Francisco).
Taylor: There were a few people that really, really pushed me to do this. About two months before I tried out, I was in New Orleans the night before Hurricane Katrina hit. I called Southwest (airlines) and told them that I was in the path of the storm. They gave me a free ticket I ended up getting a ticket to Las Vegas, which land(ed) me here.
What are your competitor’s strengths?
Katharine: Taylor is really free onstage. If I get nervous, a lot of times I can kind of clench up and not be as free and spontaneous, and that’s something that he is really, really great about doing.
Taylor: She has amazing vocal runs. It’s so cool to see somebody that talented and with that amazing vocal talent. I’m a fan.
What kind of album do you hope to make post-Idol?
Katharine: I want to put out a pop album, but I definitely want to have some bluesy sounds to it and some soulful stuff, along the lines of Joss Stone and Norah Jones.
Taylor: It’s going to be a really good representation of who I am as an artist. There are things that I want to do creatively that I’ve never been able to get to do before American Idol, possibly (something) a little bit cutting-edge.
What else do you hope to do after Idol?
Katharine: I would love to do films. Before American Idol, that was what I was pursuing. Now it’s cool because I have doors opened. Well actually, I don’t know that, but I’m hoping.
Taylor: I’ll probably live on my tour bus. My home has been the road since even before American Idol. A tour bus with some good, cold iceberg lettuce is probably where I’m going to stay.