After Katharine McPhee surprisingly lost the fifth season of American Idol to Taylor Hicks, it all could've gone another way.
Despite her obvious vocal talent, the aspiring star could've slipped into that also-ran pocket of show business, the she-shows-up-from-time-to-time category that has consumed many others. But McPhee made the most of her Idol boost and ultimately forged a path to greater success that has deposited her safely in the upper echelons of fame.
Her sporadically roller-coaster personal life hasn't hurt her name-brand recognition, either.
Putting aside for a moment that she's now engaged to David Foster, the prolific music producer and songwriter responsible for half the standards that Idol contestants sang for a decade and who mentored the Top 6 on McPhee's season (love songs week!), McPhee surprised her growing fan base in 2006 when it was revealed that the fresh-faced 22-year-old already had a steady boyfriend, 41-year-old actor Nick Cokas.