Another 'Idol' exit: McPhee leaves RCA


NEW YORK -- Katharine McPhee has joined fellow "American Idol" contestants Taylor Hicks and Ruben Studdard as former members of the Sony BMG family. The artist has parted ways with RCA after a solitary album, a 2007 self-titled affair that debuted at No. 2 on The Billboard 200.

A label source confirmed McPhee's departure, which was first reported by Entertainment Weekly.

McPhee struggled to connect with a wide audience with her debut, which was led by the single "Over It." That track topped out at No. 22 on Billboard's Top 40 Mainstream chart and No. 29 on the Hot 100. The album has sold just 366,000 units in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

As McPhee told Billboard last year, she quickly realized the art of the compromise when it came to record the album, fresh off the road from the "American Idols Live" tour.

McPhee fell particularly in love with two tracks from producer Ryan Leslie, but then they wound up not making the cut. "I'm learning that's the way it goes in this business," she said. "You give and you take."

In contrast to "Idol" stars like Bo Bice and Hicks, who had already spent years pursuing a music career, McPhee's prior experience was limited to musical theater. Once in album-making mode, she also struggled with putting her own stamp on material that had been submitted by veteran songwriters.

"The demos, it's so hard once you hear whoever is singing to get that out of your head, especially for me, being new to recording," she said. Being able to craft songs with outside collaborators like Danja, Babyface and Kara DioGuardi generated "the memory of where we were when we were writing the song. There's a kind of history behind it."