Joel McHale, Katharine McPhee

Trae Patton/NBC

Attention, American Idol hopefuls everywhere: If you end up not winning the show, fear not, cause your concession prize could be kissing Joel McHale!

At least that's how it's turned out for Katharine McPhee, the singing-acting sensation (and former Idol contestant) who hits NBC's newly renewed Community tonight (she plays Chevy Chase's stepdaughter!) and ends up in a serious lip-locking session with resident stud Jeff Winger (Joel McHale).

Katharine and Joel give us the scoop on that, plus the new show she just landed...

Katharine may only show up in a single episode (for now), but it's packed with hilarious twists and turns. "When I first appear, I'm this very sweet, innocent stepdaughter of Pierce. And you learn that I'm a little bit of a different character than you would've thought from the initial reaction," she tells us.

And according to Joel, Katharine was more than up to the task of conquering the complex character. "She was just great and she more than held her own with a cast that is so great," Joel says. "She just kicked ass. She's one of those people that you want to be around and hang around. Chevy loved her—and we had all these crazy makeout scenes together!"

"Of course my job with Joel was so easy," Katharine teases. "Come on, you've got to kiss that guy all week long? You don't have to pull my leg to do that. My husband knows that's the reality." Smart man.

Katharine's Community gig is left wide open for a return, but her schedule is filling up fast because NBC just booked her for her own pilot, The Pink House

"I'm so excited! From the outside sometimes it can look like 'She just walked into getting a job on the TV show,' to people who don't know I've been pursuing it for a long time," she explains. "It's a really cute pilot, and we'll just hope and pray it gets picked up."

Katharine says her newfound acting career has only added to her success in the music biz: "This record I found so much more joy in the music industry and in singing my songs, so I'm really enjoying both."

Don't miss Katharine on Community tonight at 8 p.m. on NBC, and pick up her latest album, Unbroken, in stores now.


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