By: Donna Freydkin
The key to Katharine McPhee's heart?
It's definitely through her other half, a little canine who follows her everywhere. "He's Larry the Lover. He's giving you kisses," says McPhee.
The singer, who was the runner-up on the fifth season of "American Idol," has gone to build a varied and successful acting career for herself. That was her, opposite Anna Faris in the exquisitely funny comedy "The House Bunny." And yes, that's her as businesslike single mom Paige on the CBS series "Scorpion," which has its season finale Monday.
She's performed with John Legend. In March, she returned to the "Idol" stage to perform her signature tune "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." And yet, you don't get any sense of ego from being around McPhee.
"I'm pretty practical, I feel like. I try not to be unrealistic about things. I'm a dreamer. Maybe my dad – he was always very practical and reasonable. My mom taught us to say thank you and be polite. My dad says that I was an eye-ball roller. I had an attitude," she says. "I have strong ambition about things that I want."
"Scorpion" is about a band of genius misfits, who are part of the Department of Homeland Security. Paige's young son gets her drawn it. On the show, she's the voice of reason, but McPhee wouldn't mind sexing Paige up a bit.
"When Scorpion goes undercover and Paige gets to be an art buyer and she's wearing a cute little black dress -- it lends itself to be a little bit more to Paige becoming something else. It gives the character another opportunity to have a different direction without losing her integrity," says McPhee.
In person, McPhee radiates an ease and self-confidence that's cool and calming. She knows who she is and is OK in her own skin. "I've worked on it. I don't think I'm always comfortable. I took a lot of movement classes. That helps with everything. Stillness is better than being overly active," she says.
But even McPhee, with her enviable bod, has her off-days. "I don't always feel secure with body. I'll wear certain things and want to wear a long jacket today because I don't feel that comfortable," she says.