Monday, June 26, 2006

Katharine McPhee Tells All and Learning to Listen(American Idol)

I was standing in line at McDonald’s, my first time there since seeing Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me a few months ago, and it occurred to me that Katharine McPhee’s bulimia confession just destroyed her chances to be a spokesperson (or is it songperson) for the highest grossing restaurant chain in the world.  Think of all the ways they could have played on her last name before she revealed her Mcsickness. I made the mistake of ordering the two double cheeseburgers for a dollar special anyway and with  Morgan Spurlock and Katherine McPhee providing the the background narration and music for my digestive tract well, “I Know I’ll Never Eat This Way Again”.  

How do I say that those golden arches threatened to be the wrong-colored Rainbow?
As I mentally process my McDonald’s binge, I found myself thinking about this “intuitive eating” thing.  My body was clearly telling me not to ingest the stuff, but I simply didn’t listen. Instead, I heeded this voice that was saying “You’re hungry, you’re in a hurry to make that meeting, salty and greasy will feel good, and a double cheeseburger for a buck is really really cheap.” As I got to the register, I was already doing a karaoke version of “I Believe I Can Fry,” to which the lady at the register responded by asking “Would you like to super-size your Fry?”

Apparently, it was My Destiny to explore intuitive eating the hard way.  I still don’t want to think about Taylor Hicks having ribs for breakfast though. I’ve never thrown up after eating, but I do personally understand binge eating all too well. As my metabolism has slowed down, I occasionally fixate on things like chocolate bars in the junk drawer or bowls of pasta meant to last three days in the refrigerator.  I’ve lost count of the number of times my stomach and  mind were saying “No” and my hands and mouth we’re saying “No” really means “Yes, yes, yes” in a kind of digestive date rape. If only there had been Someone to Watch Over Me.  I know now that if I Want to Live Forever, I’ve got to stay out of places where Kellie Pickler recognizes all the items on the menu.  If Katharine can’t endorse McDonald’s, maybe Kellie can.  Barry Manilow did seem to like her and there was that persistent story that he is the guy who wrote “You Deserve a Break Today.”

I am not one of the many people who seem convinced that Katharine McPhee came forward with her story for maximum publicity effect.  I think back about moments early in the show when for instance Ryan quizzed her about the rumor that she was pregnant and was leaving the show and cringe.  So much of what seems merely gossipy can look incredibly mean once you get clued in on a key fact or two.  I would point out that Mcphee says that she informed the producers early on and I assume they had some editorial oversight over Ryan’s Wednesday night patter, unless the guy’s now that big a star.  My guess is that she quite honorably insisted on not letting anyone turn the eating disorder into a “hook” or identifying tag for her Idol run and it may explain why her comment about wanting the contestants who were selling personality instead of singing performance to finish their schtick.

I did write in one of my reviews that had she been born thirty five years later, Karen Carpenter might have made the perfect Idol contestant.  I now look back at the line and get this queasy feeling.  On Idol, there was a very fragile quality to Katharine McPhee the performer mostly because her voice seemed to have a very narrow margin for error.  She could sound great for a few bars and then very suddenly slip out of key.  In what little we saw of her in impromptu chat, she never did project the relaxed “It’s just me and  I like me, America will like me” quality that others on the show like Elliot, Kellie, and Taylor managed.  Instead, sometimes she came off giggly and other times she showed an unpredictable assertive quality that worked for many but seemed to offend some of the board crazies.  I simply don’t know how any of those qualities will serve her in a non-amateur career.  

In any case, I wish her well even if she hangs on to the geezer boyfriend ( Celine Dion’s husband is 26 years older).  I think the hard part may come if it turns out that Telegenic Sex-bomb Katharine is not the body that her eating intuition calls for her to maintain.  There’s going to be a lot of pressure on her not to listen to what she’s worked so hard to hear and heed.  Similary by going public, as many have pointed out, she now subjects herself to a kind of Oprahesque fascination with full body shots of Katharine Mcphee for at least the first few years of her career.  I hope people do ultimately hear the voice and that America comes to love the performer and not the package as she does establish her musical identity (which I would say never fully happened in the course of the show).  

If it does come down to it though, I hope she hears that voice we all need to hear that being healthy inside and out is a bigger part of happy than famous.  In the meantime, I too have decided to start listening to That Voice Within when it comes to my own eating.  In a strange way, I can thank Katharine McPhee and People Magazine for that.  Of course, what are the odds that they stick several skinny pictures of Katharine in this year’s 50 Most Beautiful Issue as part of their usual super-sized mixed message in these matters?

Other Chancelucky Idol Reviews

Sir Linksalot American Idol articles



At 6/28/2006 08:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful article, thoughtful and insightful... great read and I agree with much of what you've said. Thanks!

At 6/29/2006 06:18:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a 65 yr old retired due to health reasons. I have been a music fan all my life. I can't count the number of concerts I've been to. I have seen the careers of many superstars going back to the early 50's, but I am convinced after following Katharine McPhee on American Idol, and hearing her new cd scheduled for release next week that in all my years, she is TOPS from all that I have ever listened to and enjoyed.As you probably know, there have been many singers do a rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow, but no one comes close to this. She has such a tremendous voice range, and needless to say the looks and personality to be a superstar legend. I predict a record in platinum records for her to compare with the all time greats. Thank you
bob in ny

At 6/29/2006 03:50:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Anonymous, thanks for the kind comments.

Anonymous Bob,
Katharine was my choice to win this year (as in who I wanted to win vs. who I thought would win). I'm not at all sure how her professional career will go. I do think she'll at least have a Broadway career out of this and I could see her doing really really well also (commercially that is).
I mostly just hope she winds up happy, though I'd like to see that for anyone.
I did feel that at her best, she was the best of the final twelve.

At 6/30/2006 04:31:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is way too cute! I am anti-Kat, by the way. I dislike her diva-ness, but she is talented. I was happy with Taylor's having beat her.
You are quite talented.

At 6/30/2006 08:53:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Some of the nicest compliments I get on these American Idol reviews come from people who ordinarily would be angry at me for making fun of their favorites or vice versa.

Many thanks

At 7/05/2006 12:40:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was a cute review! I am a HUGE Katharine McPhee fan- I'm like insanely obsessed- and I still found myself chuckling through it. I don't think that she confessed to the bulimia for publicity reasons. She had clued in producers before. She just waited until after the show because she didn't want people to vote for her because of what she'd been through- she wanted them to vote based on her talent. I'm very proud of her for being open about her struggles. I know she has helped girls who found themselves in the same situations. Katharine could not have handled it better..Well anyways, I really liked the review! Great work.

At 7/05/2006 11:34:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

many thanks for your comment. I agree. I suspect her decision to postpone going public about it until after the show was not about publicity.

I hope she has both a great singing/acting career and a healthy life.

At 7/05/2006 03:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, peeps! I just discovered this magnificent little piece of the cyber-universe! I went back and read one of Chancelucky's earliest takes on McPhee and found it most ironic...and insightful...Here it is:

This is weird while I thought she was very good, I don’t remember Katherine Mcphee’s actual singing other than she did a Barbara Streisand song. What I do remember is that she had a really appealing goofiness after the judges did their thing. I also think the whole body image thing she has while looking perfectly attractive is actually going to play well. It gives her this scent of vulnerability. Yes, she has a voice teacher mother but she’s ever so slightly self-conscious about it. She has the look for album covers and videos, but she lets us know that she’s ever so insecure about her lower body. Beyond that she can actually sing though I’m not sure she connects emotionally when she’s singing as well as she seems to pull it off when she’s not.

Smart guy, this blooger named Chancelucky. I may have just found a new cyber home.

See Y'all again soon!
'Bama Belle

At 7/06/2006 10:17:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

'bama belle,
wow, thanks for making me smile.

I looked at some of my early postings and I suspect I was wrong as often as I was right. For one, I thought Lisa Tucker would do better than Paris Bennett. I also thought Gedeon and Ayla Brown would make the finals.


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