Published January 11, 2008
RCA Records confirmed that it's dropped "American Idol" runner-up Katharine McPhee, the New York Daily News reported.
McPhee, 23, whose fans liked to say they had "McPheever" during her stint on "Idol," struggled to connect with a wide audience with her debut album, "Katharine McPhee," which was led by the single "Over It," Billboard.com reported.
That song topped out at No. 22 on Billboard's Top 40 Mainstream chart and No. 29 on the Hot 100. The album, which debuted at No. 2 on The Billboard 200, has sold just 366,000 units in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
One top BMG exec told the Daily News: "We put millions behind Katharine. Many of us at the label still love her songs. But we're in the major leagues. We didn't think she could break into the mainstream. We would rather be honest." (McPhee is talking with another label and is due to star in the movie "I Know What Boys Like, the News reported.")
McPhee joins fellow "American Idol" contestants Taylor Hicks and Ruben Studdard as former members of the Sony BMG family.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Hicks, who beat McPhee on the show in 2006, has apparently been dropped by J Records, another label within Sony-BMG, which signs the show's singers.
Another "Idol" winner — Ruben Studdard of season two — left his contract with J Records late last year, but continues his contract with 19 Entertainment, the company managed by "Idol" creator Simon Fuller.
According to the Daily News, the BMG group still counts eight "Idols" on its roster, including Carrie Underwood and Chris Daughtry (both of whom delivered top 10 albums in 2007), Blake Lewis (with one album), Fantasia (with three), Jordin Sparks (working on her second) and Clay Aiken and Kelly Clarkson (both working on their fourth albums).
And though she was signed nearly three years ago, execs at BMG's Arista label are still looking forward to Jennifer Hudson's album, due out in May or June.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.