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CNN Larry King Live

Interview with Katharine McPhee, Taylor Hicks

Aired May 26, 2006 - 21:00   ET


RYAN SEACREST, HOST, "AMERICAN IDOL": The winner of "American Idol" season five is Taylor Hicks.


SEACREST: Tonight, a primetime exclusive, together for the first time since the star-studded finale, the American idols themselves, winner Taylor Hicks and runner-up Katharine McPhee; plus, the dog (ph), Randy Jackson and me, Ryan Seacrest. We will be taking your calls next right here as I fill in for Larry on LARRY KING LIVE.


SEACREST: They're going crazy back home.


SEACREST: Good evening and welcome. Thanks for joining us. Here they are, the team, well part of the team.

RANDY JACKSON: Part of the team, yes.

SEACREST: Congratulations to Taylor Hicks, the new American idol.


SEACREST: Has it sunk in yet, Taylor?

HICKS: I've been on a press tour, we both have, for about 48 hours now and, yes, I mean slowly as things start slowing down I start realizing it and it's pretty amazing stuff.

SEACREST: And, Kat (ph), you talk about the bubble that all of you live in during the series. How do you feel now being the runner- up, which is a huge accomplishment?

KATHARINE MCPHEE, RUNNER-UP "AMERICAN IDOL" SEASON FIVE: A huge accomplishment. I feel fantastic. Yesterday was a little weird. First of all, I only had about 45 minutes of sleep.


MCPHEE: Between the finale and...

SEACREST: Is that right, 45 minutes of sleep?

MCPHEE: Forty-five minutes of sleep between the finale and when we started our press very early in the morning. And I just -- it was weird because my day was over at 2:30 yesterday. I know Taylor's was a little bit longer. But I was like, all right, well I guess I'll just sleep. It was just weird, you know.

JACKSON: Par for the course.

MCPHEE: The bubble has now officially been popped so the world is at our fingertips.

SEACREST: Well, Randy, how would you now looking back on the season assess what these two have accomplished?

JACKSON: I just want to say congratulations to both you guys. I mean you guys are definitely two of my favorites. And, I think, you know, at the beginning of the season, you know, we see all these kids, Ryan. You're out on the road with us and you really never know.

But I must say we're really happy because he was so different. We'd never seen anything like him. And she, I don't know if she knows this, she was really different for us too, reason being we've never had a great contestant from L.A.


JACKSON: This is where we live. Oh, my god, California, come on and we were like shocked.

SEACREST: You know it's interesting because you come from different backgrounds, different parts of the U.S., Taylor from a smaller town in Alabama. By the way, Alabama, lots of idols coming out of Bama.

HICKS: Yes, it's...




JACKSON: Ham and the ham is putting it down.

HICKS: Interesting, you know.

SEACREST: Of course, Sherman Oaks, a part of Los Angeles.


SEACREST: Do you think that that was a plus or a minus, a pro or a con being from a big city on "American Idol" Kat? MCPHEE: I think it might have definitely played against me a little bit. I mean I don't want to go into any negative because, look it, I mean I got this far and obviously people were voting for me.

But, you know, it's just different coming from especially not only, I mean it would be different with like Chicago or Boston but L.A., you know, this is like where everybody comes to become famous and I was born here, so it's just different.

HICKS: Well, you know what, you're famous now.

JACKSON: Absolutely, that's right. And you know, listen, it was special for us though with saying that we still every season didn't find anybody great from L.A. And you know there's somebody great here and when you showed up we couldn't believe it though. We couldn't believe it. We couldn't. Dude, I'm serious.

MCPHEE: Oh, thanks Randy.

SEACREST: I know for a fact the judges when they would see Los Angeles on the audition schedule they would say, "Oh, we're not going to find" -- everybody's jaded.

MCPHEE: Really?


JACKSON: Because we haven't been to New York in years.

SEACREST: You actually didn't want to go there.

JACKSON: Yes, well we hadn't been to New York in a couple years, Ryan's hometown Atlanta we hadn't been in a couple years just because the big cities started giving us kind of more of a little bit of a jaded vibe, you know.


JACKSON: But it's just amazing to me. That's why I don't know if you remember me asking you "Dud, where you been?" Like what?

MCPHEE: Yes, I remember that.

SEACREST: And what's the answer?

MCPHEE: Oh, gosh.

SEACREST: Where were you hiding?

MCPHEE: Where have I been hiding? I've been like in the town, so crazy. I just -- I've been, you know, auditioning like every other girl in L.A.

SEACREST: Apparently we're having some problems with her microphone with Kat's mike.


SEACREST: You can -- we'll try and fix that in the break in just a second.


SEACREST: Now, Taylor, in that moment that we saw you are the winner of "American Idol." A beat before I announced your name what was going through your mind"

HICKS: Don't fall down. Don't let your legs or your knees buckle. And, then you when you announced it, it was great.

SEACREST: And the moments after when you were performing could you even -- is it just too much to take in sensory overload?

HICKS: Yes, it's overwhelming, you know, and I wanted to thank the band and all the production staff and everybody behind the scenes that really makes this phenomenon work.

SEACREST: Well, congratulations to you. We're going to take a break and come back to LARRY KING LIVE with the idols and your calls coming up. Stay with us.


SEACREST: The time of your life, back with Taylor, Katharine McPhee, Randy Jackson from "American Idol."

What was it like singing that song together just before the announcement was made?

MCPHEE: Really fun.

HICKS: Yes, we loved it.

MCPHEE: We loved it.

HICKS: You know it almost got cut from the show.


HICKS: Right at the last minute.

MCPHEE: And what did we both do? What did we both do? We went like this, we're like, I'm nervous, both at the same time.

HICKS: Yes, we both were -- we both were really nervous.

SEACREST: To a lot of people watching, and Randy included, want to know and you can be totally honest with us right here because it's just us, OK, just us.

JACKSON: You're family.

SEACREST: We want to know what's the relationship like when it gets down to the final few on "American Idol" because as we always say it's an individual competition? You're fighting to win for yourself not for a group or a team.

HICKS: I think few is a whole lot harder from a competitive aspect than two because the two, you know, there's more emphasis on you and, you know, a bigger -- the bigger contracts of the whole contest.

MCPHEE: Yes. I think once you get into the top two you sort of lose the competition aspect of it.


MCPHEE: To be honest because...

SEACREST: Taylor didn't lose the competition aspect of it.

MCPHEE: Well...

SEACREST: I saw the eye of the tiger every moment.

MCPHEE: Randy, I mean, yes, maybe you're right.

JACKSON: No, I mean once you're one and two you get the contract.


JACKSON: And luckily, you know, you're going to get signed to a management company and, you know, it's gravy at one and two.

MCPHEE: And that's what we just kept telling each other that.

JACKSON: Because you know at one and two. You both are definitely getting signed.

MCPHEE: Right.

JACKSON: You guys are winners anyway, you know what I mean?

MCPHEE: Right.

JACKSON: You're going to make a record.

MCPHEE: Right.

SEACREST: Were you prepared for how grueling the process is? There's no break.


SEACREST: It is day after day, rehearsal after rehearsal, show after show. I know that towards the end you were getting tired and doctor even came to the Kodak Theater where we did the finale.

MCPHEE: Yes. SEACREST: Talk about that.

MCPHEE: I don't think you can ever be prepared for how grueling the schedule is going to be and it doesn't really even get as grueling until like about halfway, well even past halfway. Because the beginning is more just, you know, your hours are very long but you're mostly just sitting and, you know, waiting. It's like, you know, hurry up and wait thing that Hollywood always talks about and it's very true. And I just, yes, I was just exhausted.

JACKSON: Well I saw the dress rehearsal. Simon and I were watching it and at one point you were singing and your voice was like just...


JACKSON: So you must at that moment, and there wasn't a happy look on your face and you said something to her on stage.


JACKSON: And then you went off and you were like oh.


JACKSON: So is that when you got like some doctor help or something?

MCPHEE: Yes, yes. I mean I think like even the dress rehearsal was like, you know, because I don't think we're -- I don't know if we're allowed to say this but I'm going to say it anyway. You know that little segment that they show after the competition is over to give a little recap?


MCPHEE: That's actually from the dress rehearsal.


MCPHEE: Which a lot of people at home may not know and I didn't care. I was like "I don't care if that's" (INAUDIBLE). I was like "I cannot sing this right now." And, yes, and I had to go. The doctor was like waiting for me right when I got off the stage and it definitely works. I mean my voice was definitely there.

SEACREST: You know, Randy, this is the best prep one can have for the reality of what it's like to work in the music business wouldn't you say?

JACKSON: Yes, I mean you know we talk about it all the time. I mean all the criticism that we give even including somebody named Carl (ph) that gives a very stern (INAUDIBLE).

SEACREST: We're going to get to Simon in a little bit believe it or not. JACKSON: But I mean, you know...


JACKSON: ...I think what it is because you imagine a Mick Jagger, imagine any singer that's ever been out there. When you're standing on the stage the idea is they're going to say your teeth are crooked, your eyes are too close together, ears are too big, hair's wrong, fat, skinny. I mean you're going to hear everything possible.

So, you know, it's really good prep, you know, to have really tough skin because I mean, you know, you're out there to deliver something so you need to go through the whole shot.

SEACREST: I almost feel guilty bringing this up about Simon but you mentioned his name. He's not here with us right now because he's traveling.


SEACREST: You know I'm going to feel bad about this and regret it later when I watch it back but when you all first met Taylor Hicks, the new American Idol...


SEACREST: ...Paula said yes. Randy said yes. Simon said no. He shouldn't come to Hollywood.

JACKSON: No, I know.

SEACREST: What did he miss?

JACKSON: The thing is, is that what we loved about him is that he was really different, so every season, you know, we go out looking for greatness, all the greatness that we can find and we also look for something that's unique because we think that, you know, the world needs something different.

Not everyone wants the same meal every day. So, we love that but he couldn't quite get into it because, you know, he's not really from the south. He doesn't really know this kind of whole (INAUDIBLE).

SEACREST: He's not from America man.


SEACREST: How does that play into your process knowing that he said no from day one, Taylor?

HICKS: I just kind of bit my tongue and probably might, you know...

MCPHEE: He really -- let me just say...

HICKS: ...write a book called "The Things I'd Like to say." MCPHEE: Taylor -- Taylor really did bite his tongue.

SEACREST: Here is your opportunity.


MCPHEE: Yes, he really did bite his tongue.

HICKS: I just think he was so -- I think he was so submerged in pop culture that I just think somebody like me coming from the old school, you know, the soul southern vibe, the whole Sly and the Family Stone, I think it just kind of just completely threw him off his rocker so to speak.

JACKSON: Well the thing is, Ryan, too is that, you know, we were pretty hard on Kat sometimes too but the thing is that what we do in essence we're kind of like proud parents. We know how great each of you can be. We know this is the beginning. We know she can sing.

SEACREST: I'm going to disagree.

JACKSON: No, no, no, no.

SEACREST: I'm going to disagree. Sometimes there's...

JACKSON: No, we know she can sing her face off. We knew he could sing his face off.

SEACREST: But sometimes there's a lack of finesse.


SEACREST: I think parents have a little bit more finesse.

JACKSON: Yes, you know, me being a parent, of course, I got some finesse but that other guy's (INAUDIBLE) you know. And Paula's already cool. But I mean the thing is, is that we know so we're trying to always get the best out and what we're actually saying when we give the critique is we're actually trying to help rather than -- we're trying to say, "OK, well do more of this, less of that, like this, more of this."

SEACREST: Katharine, how do you not take it personally?

MCPHEE: Sometimes it's hard. I was just like on the way here I was sitting in the car and I was thinking about all the things because I actually had a conversation with Simon at the party, after the finale and he was like -- and I could see sometimes when, you know, some of the comments really hurt you. I think...

SEACREST: Do you think he cared?

MCPHEE: Probably not.

SEACREST: I ask you genuinely. I'm serious. MCPHEE: No, but I'm just talking about like, you know, there's moments, like the one time. I'll tell you one time when Simon really, you know, hurt, like upset me was when I was in the bottom two, the very first time I was in the bottom two and it's like it's not like you don't have to rub it in. I know I'm in the bottom two.


MCPHEE: And he has to go and say, well, you know, actually I went home and watched it and it really wasn't very good, so I'm not surprised you're in the bottom two. It's just things like that, you know, that you know you wouldn't want your parent to say, you know.


MCPHEE: You wouldn't want your...

SEACREST: How did you feel when Simon said on Tuesday of the finale week that Taylor is the winner (INAUDIBLE)?

MCPHEE: I guess I asked. That's been like the number one question and I really, really to be honest was so peaceful with not winning "American Idol" once I hit top two. I remember I was backstage and the stage manager was standing with me. He's like "Don't listen to that." And I was like, I was like "No, I'm really -- I'm OK. I'm really OK with that."

JACKSON: Well, I got a question. Were you guys shocked how far you got? Were you shocked at where you're sitting right now? Are you shocked?


MCPHEE: Yes, definitely.

JACKSON: Did you never think you'd ever make it because of what he said or what we said?

HICKS: I had -- I knew I had an uphill battle to climb and, you know, I'll tell you what if anything that Simon Cowell did the whole season was drive me even more to succeed.

SEACREST: That's interesting.

JACKSON: But that's good though.

SEACREST: (INAUDIBLE) to the point where you'd try harder.

HICKS: It did. It really kicked me off.

MCPHEE: Yes, he would be angry I'll tell you.

JACKSON: But no that's good though. That's good.

SEACREST: I know the feeling.

JACKSON: Yes, no that's good though. That's good though.

MCPHEE: He would make me upset sometimes too I mean like to the point where you...

JACKSON: There are some comments that he made that I...

SEACREST: Did he bring you to tears?

MCPHEE: He has never brought me to tears. Simon never brought me to tears.

JACKSON: But the great thing about both of you is that the resilience you guys rose to the occasion dude, I'm telling you.

MCPHEE: Oh, thank you.

JACKSON: I mean you came back week after week. I'm saying, dude, because it was tough and you know it was tough.


JACKSON: And the thing that we loved about it, even the night of the show, the final, Ryan, what we loved is we loved seeing all the kids back because it reminded us that, hey, whoa, this is a really talented bunch.


JACKSON: So to look at these two that really went through the ranks and were the last two standing, dude, mad props because it was definitely a tough season.

MCPHEE: It was definitely tough. I mean I -- go ahead.

SEACREST: I was just going to say I was looking at the ratings for the finale at the point where we announced the winner. Forty-five million viewers in the U.S. were watching the show. Why do you think this season has connected in such a way with the audience?

JACKSON: I mean I personally think that, you know, now what we've gotten to is we had something for everyone in this top 12. I mean you had the young girl. I don't think we've had a girl that young and that talented as Paris. I mean you had her who was like, you know, a Mariah, Christina, whole kind of vibe like this, even if she's not going to sing the song. But she's like (INAUDIBLE).

You have Taylor, who's like a throw back to Ray, a throw back to Joe Cocker, throw back to all of those greats like that. I mean you had Mandisa who gave you the big church (INAUDIBLE) kind of vibe.

You had like, you know, everything. You had a true rocker, the best rocker we've ever had, Chris. I mean you know you had Ace who was like, you know, kind of a boy bander guy (INAUDIBLE). You had every single facet covered. You had the country thing with Pickler and Buckley (ph), you know, with Bucky (ph). I mean it was great. SEACREST: If I'm Kat or Taylor, I'm a little bit nervous about my next moves because I've got to take what I've accomplished on the show and parlay all that momentum into more success and frankly become as big, if not bigger, as Kelly Clarkson. Why not?


SEACREST: You should be able to do it. You're household names right now. How do you figure out what the right moves are as you move on from the show -- Taylor?

HICKS: I think you have to rely on gut and instinct and really, you know, the people that you're working around you really have to rely on your instinct and your true self and who you want to work with and what kind of artist that you want to be. And, I think gut instinct really plays a key part in that because usually your gut instinct is the right one.

SEACREST: A lot of cooks in the kitchen now, Kat.


SEACREST: How do you know who to listen to?

MCPHEE: I was going to say pretty much the same thing. It's all about making wise decisions from this point on and that goes from, you know, song choices to, you know, where you're going to perform, you know, how you're going to promote your -- I mean it's everything you have to think about and, you know, for me it's a whole different aspect of, you know, should I break into film now? You know should I, you know, should I just focus on music?

SEACREST: Did Steven Spielberg call you to have a meeting?

MCPHEE: Well...

SEACREST: Remember you have to answer everything honestly on this show. Otherwise, Larry (INAUDIBLE) isn't it Randy?


MCPHEE: I will say that I have not spoken to Steven Spielberg personally but there is some talk about having a meeting.

SEACREST: Did his office call someone that you know?

MCPHEE: Someone that I know.

SEACREST: Or that you work with?

MCPHEE: Yes, I guess. I don't know.

SEACREST: So there's a possibility...

MCPHEE: Somebody I know. I don't think somebody... SEACREST: ...that he may cast you for something?

JACKSON: I'll give you guys one last piece of advice. Accept what you sing best and stick with it. Make a record first. Be that guy. Never stop being that guy. That's who you are. You know who that is. You could be any number two or three people but there's one of those people that you do the best. You do it better than anybody else. Be that one and carry that on because that's what people bought into.

MCPHEE: Right.

JACKSON: They didn't buy into you guys being like different people every day.

MCPHEE: Right.

JACKSON: They bought into you being a fun kind of crazy, wild, aloof kind of unpredictable guy that's going to have a good time and he's going to sell you to death, you know. Even when you sing at the end of your song, if you're single, people are like "Oh, yes, OK, he's that guy. He'll try anything, whatever." "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," oh my God, the sound.

SEACREST: Brilliant.

MCPHEE: Oh, thank you.

JACKSON: The first time I ever got goose bumps. That's it simple, so easy. It's just effortless. It was just, ah, like butter.

SEACREST: So, Taylor does not go into rap. Kat does not sing what Taylor sang.


SEACREST: We'll be right back on LARRY KING LIVE. Stay with us.



JACKSON: Dude, I'm saying I was like wow.

SEACREST: Back with the idols and Randy Jackson, Ryan Seacrest in for Larry King tonight and we got a hot one tonight.

JACKSON: We got a hot one in here, Ryan. We got two hot ones baby.

SEACREST: There is no one quite like Randy Jackson.

MCPHEE: I know.



SEACREST: Five years, five seasons on "American Idol," is this the driver for all your other business?

JACKSON: No, I mean somewhat. I mean I've been a musician all my life and a producer and a record guy all my life. I think the cool thing about this show that makes it really different, between the three of us, myself, Paula, and that guy named Simon Cowell, I think we each have 25 years of just top level experience in the business. So, it's like it's kind of funny that, you know, we're on a music show and we're music business people, you know what I mean so.

SEACREST: You've made it clear on the show that you worked with Mariah Carey for a long time now and I read this morning that you're embarking on a tour with her.


SEACREST: First tour in the U.S. in three years. What will you be doing with Mariah this time around?

JACKSON: I'm actually her musical director, have been that for a long time, and we're putting the tour together.

SEACREST: What does that mean in terms of the tour?

JACKSON: It means that arranging the songs, putting all the music together, rehearsing the band, putting the band together, the singers, the dancers, the whole kit and caboodle. In fact, I helped greatly with the first two or three Idol tours of the kids that they're going to go on this summer.

So, you know, it's kind of what I do. It's like second nature for me because I played with her for so long and produced and wrote songs with her, so we're like, you know, we're like best pals so it's like, you know, she thinks it and I'm going like "OK, I already got you."

You know we were on the phone yesterday on a conference call for like four hours talking about the show because I had just seen Madonna's show and I'm just, you know, got things rattling in my brain how we really want to make the show the hottest show on earth, you know.

SEACREST: What was the key to her comeback?

JACKSON: I think, you know, she is probably for me in my estimation one of the greatest talents we've ever had because you have Celine, we're going to keep it real right here, I always keep it real. We have Celine, we have Whitney, great singers, sold 100 million albums, 120 million albums each.

Mariah has sold 165 million albums but most importantly she co- wrote every one of them, co-wrote 19 number one records, co-wrote, co- produced all of them. That's the difference. When you actually are in control of your own destiny, meaning that you can write and you're just not waiting for songwriters to bring you songs, dude that's bigger than anything because what it's basically saying it's you actually did it. You know you do it the other way too but you're more of an actor when you're singing other people's songs.

SEACREST: There's more advice from Randy for you guys, Taylor and Katharine.

HICKS: Good stuff.

SEACREST: Let's talk about some of the other contestants on the show. A lot of people love Chris Daughtry. Were you surprised that he was voted off when he was?

HICKS: I felt during the week that Chris Daughtry sang I thought his two songs were really good. I didn't, I mean I...

SEACREST: Kat, you laugh.

MCPHEE: No, that week just was awkward and difficult for me in general you know. You know, one, weeks before that Chris and I were in the top two, had the most votes.


MCPHEE: And then, you know, a few weeks later we were in the bottom two together and, you know, and Chris had had a better week than I had and I stuck around. And everybody thought, a lot of people thought that Chris was going to win and so it was really...

JACKSON: Were you shocked that when Ryan made that announcement that Chris was going home and you were safe you must have just been...

SEACREST: Well, I'll never forget the look on your face. I'll never forget the look on your face on that one.

MCPHEE: Yes, I mean (INAUDIBLE) all the magazines so like every time I like opened a magazine I was like there's 65 percent say Chris should have won, you know, should have stayed.

JACKSON: Were you shocked when you were standing...


JACKSON: You were shocked?

HICKS: I was. Everybody was shocked. I mean, you know, it's interesting. I really couldn't -- I didn't know what to think actually, you know. It was just one of those things.

SEACREST: When we come back I want to get your take on Ace and Elliot Yamin as well, two popular contestants. It's LARRY KING LIVE with the idols. We will be right back. Stay with us.


SEACREST: It is the idol summit, your "American Idol," Taylor Hicks. And that was a good moment for you. That was one of the highlights of the season for you right there before of course the big win when Simon said that.

HICKS: Yes, yes, I was very thankful. You know, we both are very blessed to be in this situation.

SEACREST: I am going to take some calls here.

Let's go to Houston, Texas.

Hello. You're on with Katharine McPhee, Randy Jackson and Taylor Hicks. Go ahead.

CALLER: Hi, Ryan, I missed your afternoon show. But Taylor, Taylor, Taylor.


CALLER: When will we have a soul patrol CD?

HICKS: I would say I think there should be a quick turnaround. I really don't know. I would say in the next five, six months, end of the year, probably something like that.

SEACREST: Thank you for the call. Let's go now to Sanford, Michigan. Go ahead, you're on with the idols.

CALLER: Yes, congrats to you both.

MCPHEE: Thank you.

HICKS: Thank you.

CALLER: Can't wait for your CD, Taylor.

HICKS: Thank you.

CALLER: When it was down to the final three, it was made such a big deal that, you know, it was so, so close. I was just wondering what the percentage was when it was just the two of you and if the rumor is true that it was a pretty big gap?

HICKS: You know, that's a good question.

SEACREST: Randy, do you have any information on that?

JACKSON: No, I don't know. I don't think we knew the numbers, but I don't think it was super, super close.

SEACREST: Yes, I mean, like she said, it was unbelievably tight.

JACKSON: The three of you, I know that was really close. That was crazy. SEACREST: What is your take on Elliott Yamin, other contestants like Elliott?

HICKS: I haven't heard a voice, a throat like that in a long, long time. And, you know, I think he's got a little bit more growing to do as a stage performer. And I see him succeeding in recorded music.

MCPHEE: I agree. Though definitely right a way, when I first heard him sing, I was like, this guy has an incredible voice. Just -- and so much control with his voice. And he just does these like -- he always is talking and like yelling and stuff like that. And it doesn't matter, he's like, man, my voice is messed up. And then he goes up there, and he's like still amazing. It doesn't matter if it has that like kind of raspy thing because it works with his voice.

SEACREST: We called him then underdog, Randy.

JACKSON: Definitely the underdog.

SEACREST: Probably the most improved too.

JACKSON: Yes, I mean, listen, we loved his voice from day one. I mean, you know, the night of the final, when he sang "House is Not a Home," we were like, whoa, God. I mean, you know, for a second, I thought it was Ruben singing it because Ruben has got that whole like thing. But listen, Elliott can definitely sing. He has a good future for himself.

HICKS: In my opinion, this show did wonders for Elliott. I mean, the "American Idol" idea in my opinion takes somebody like Elliott from a vocal talent, and this show did what it was supposed to do with Elliot. It created Elliott with a beautiful talent, and it caressed it, it nurtured it all the way through. And now he is a better performer for it.

SEACREST: I think it did a lot for him personally as well. Well, seriously I really do.

HICKS: His story is amazing.

SEACREST: His story is amazing. His relationship with his mother was a beautiful thing.

JACKSON: It really did. And I think we all loved him just because he has got such a big heart, and he is such a humble compassionate kid. And really he's right, Taylor's right. The show initially was about -- it is the rocky story set to music. It's the one that you would never imagine that just grows.

I mean, you know, people were talking about God, his hair. I meet people out and they are talking about women. And they are saying oh my God, I need to get with him, whatever. And I am like whoa, this is really turning around.

SEACREST: Did you ever think Ace Young could win? JACKSON: I think in the beginning we thought that he had a shot. I never thought that he could win. I think Paula did.

SEACREST: How was he backstage, Taylor?

HICKS: Nice as can be.

JACKSON: He's a good kid.

HICKS: Yes, great guy.

SEACREST: Is it true that you had a crush on him, Katharine?

MCPHEE: Really?

SEACREST: I just made that up.

MCPHEE: I was like, no.

SEACREST: What was he like with you?

MCPHEE: Very -- he's flirty. He's definitely flirty.

SEACREST: Her giggle and her smile say a million words.

JACKSON: Say so many things. See I am telling you, she is going to be an amazing actress as well.

SEACREST: We'll be right back on LARRY KING LIVE.

MCPHEE: I didn't get to finish.

SEACREST: Stay with us.


SEACREST: I may be corny, but those moments still give me chills when I watch it back.

JACKSON: See, that was a hot moment man. And you sung your face off right there dude.

SEACREST: One of your biggest fans from the beginning, Paula Abdul, who is tired, wornout from the season, but is on the line with us right now.

Hey Paula, how are you holding up?

PAULA ABDUL, "AMERICAN IDOL" JUDGE: I'm trying to hang in there. I'm watching you guys and how gracious you guys are on television. You're pros. You're all-pros.

MCPHEE: Thank you.

SEACREST: Paula, you're a little pitchy.

HICKS: Yes, you're pitchy, Paula.

JACKSON: Pitchy and punchy.

SEACREST: What was it that you saw in these two, from the get-go when they walked into the audition room?

ABDUL: Unbelievable super stardom and that raw untapped talent that we got to just witness in those audition rooms. They just wowed us. You two wowed us.

SEACREST: Paula, when you look back at season five, what will stand out in your mind? Because we went through a heck of a lot, with each other as a cast and also with the contestants.

ABDUL: You know, Randy and I both felt this way. We knew when we were on the road that we had a special season ahead of us, but it was the unique gems that the two of you possessed. There were gems all throughout the final 12. I mean, it was unlike any other season. It really was.

SEACREST: Are you and Simon speaking?

ABDUL: Today, yes, because he's gone.

SEACREST: Because he's away. Well, it's true, and not everybody gets a chance to see it. But he's constantly teasing you in the breaks and teasing you when he is not on camera. And Randy, you witness it all the time.

JACKSON: One might say Ryan, that there must be some love there.

ABDUL: Excuse me, Randy, but I do believe that you joined in the shenanigans and tied my arms up with the bows on my dress.

SEACREST: Do you feel like the victim of the boy's club, is that what you're saying?

ABDUL: I'm always the victim of the boy's club.

JACKSON: We love you, though, P, P, we love you. You know this.

ABDUL: I do know this. It's about the love that Taylor -- and I'm so excited to watch you soar into the reality of your dreams. I really am. You deserve this on such a level. And Katharine, you are a beautiful performer, and your dreams are coming true too.

And that's what's so cool about sitting as a judge, don't you think, Randy? To sit back and watch what's about to happen for the rest of these two up there. I mean, their careers are set, your dreams, whatever you want to do, make them happen.

JACKSON: I mean, it's -- you're right, Paula. It's the chance of a lifetime. And, I mean, we couldn't be happier that it is the two of you. I mean, dude, we did it this season. This is the bomb. We have done it every season, but this is the bomb dude. It's the bomb right here. ABDUL: Taylor, I just want you -- I hope you catch a glimpse of any of the interviews watching me imitate you because I have got you down. I have got you down. I have got the moves down.

HICKS: Well cool.

SEACREST: Be careful with your falsetto soul patrol tonight.

JACKSON: Exactly.

SEACREST: My mother would want you to go gargle with salt water. So rest your voice OK?

ABDUL: Yes, I am going to rest my voice. But I will tell you, I got hoarse screaming on Wednesday night.

MCPHEE: So did I.

JACKSON: Taylor and I say have a hot totty (ph) on us.

HICKS: Right. I am going to.

ABDUL: You guys enjoy what is about to happen. Document everything. I am not trying to sound like a grandma, but write everything down. Film everything, film your very first moments of everything that's about to happen. Enjoy, have a great time, and I'll be there rooting you on the whole way.

SEACREST: Thanks, Paula.

ABDUL: I love you guys that.

MCPHEE: Love you too.

SEACREST: Paula Abdul, thanks for the call.

JACKSON: Well, Ryan, you guys get the record deal.

SEACREST: You got cars. I gave you two Mustangs.

HICKS: We haven't seen those cars yet.

MCPHEE: We haven't seen those cars yet.

HICKS: We would like to drive them.

JACKSON: Well, wait a minute. They got some Randy Jackson collection, my original timepieces.


JACKSON: He's got his timepiece. She's got her timepiece on, $25,000 joints. Ryan, you got one.

SEACREST: The perks, yes.

JACKSON: I mean, you know, this is a jump off of a lifetime.

MCPHEE: It's amazing, insane.

SEACREST: Now when you can afford to buy things, they'll be given to you.


JACKSON: Isn't that funny?

SEACREST: Like Anderson Cooper, he has got all kinds of tennis shoes just given to him, you know, just one of the perks of being a great broadcaster. And Anderson is standing by right now.

Anderson, what is coming up on the show tonight? How are you?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I am doing well, Ryan. I just wanted you to see my wrist, I don't have a watch, Randy.

JACKSON: Dude, I got to hook you up. I am going to hook you up man.

SEACREST: Show him -- take a look. Could you fit that into your wardrobe?

COOPER: Yikes. I don't think I could pull that off.

HICKS: I don't think I could either.

MCPHEE: You should see mine.

COOPER: Yes, I have no muscles in my body.

JACKSON: We've got one for you baby.

COOPER: All right thanks.

Ryan, tonight, we're looking at the drama in Washington, not just the reports of gunfire that sent the Capitol into lockdown mode, also the battle about to begin on immigration, House versus Senate, Republican versus Republican. We will look at just how bad things are on the border and in the halls of Congress.

And we'll have some fun as well, televangelist Pat Robertson claims he can leg press 2,000 pounds. He is promoting an age defying health shake. We are going to put those claims to the test, Ryan. It is sort of our version of the soul patrol, I guess.

SEACREST: Thank you very much. We're going to get you a watch and some rims from Randy Jackson.

JACKSON: Exactly baby.

COOPER: Let me just say, I am so glad to see another prematurely gray haired guy out there.

HICKS: Thank you. Thank you, Anderson.

SEACREST: The same colorist, you, two. Hey, did you vote?

COOPER: I didn't vote, but I got to tell you, I am addicted. And I watched and I TiVoed. and I'm thrilled with the results. So congratulations.

SEACREST: Thank you, Anderson.

JACKSON: See you in a bit.

SEACREST: All right. Take care.

And we will be right back on LARRY KING LIVE.


SEACREST: What a TV moment. To give you context, that was a contestant Michael Sendecki who kind of looked like Clay Aiken.

JACKSON: Yes, kind of.

SEACREST: He didn't know that Clay was there. It was a total surprise, and you saw the genuine reaction. I actually walked out onto the stage to catch him because they thought he was going to pass out live on television.

JACKSON: Dude, he was just in his moment right there. But big props to Clay man. Clay, I like the doo man. And he sung his face off.


JACKSON: He still can sing.

SEACREST: However, when I saw Clay's hair, I had that very same reaction that Michael had.

All right, let's go to Boston right now. You're on with us. Go ahead, Boston.

CALLER: Hi, I'd like to congratulate Taylor Hicks on his win and Katharine McPhee.

MCPHEE: Thank you.

CALLER: My question is, how do you guys change from when you walked into audition from when the finale was over?

SEACREST: How did they evolve? How do they change? How do you grow? Good question.

MCPHEE: Well, I can answer for Taylor. He has turned into a big jerk. Just kidding.

HICKS: Just like Simon. MCPHEE: Just kidding.

JACKSON: Just like Simon.

MCPHEE: No. I get this question asked a lot. But I still feel like the same girl, you know, from Sherman Oaks. I just get to do so many cool things now.

SEACREST: You do a better job.

MCPHEE: Better job. I'm busier. You know, I think, if anything, I just kind of -- I'm -- I want the do more, you know. I want to pursue more now.

SEACREST: It whets your appetite.



HICKS: I think that I've become a better vocalist, you know, through the whole process.

SEACREST: You're forced to.


JACKSON: That's good. That's good.

HICKS: You know, I think I've definitely learned how to control my voice and not sing so hard and not have to sing. And it's just made me a better vocalist.

JACKSON: Make smarter choices.


JACKSON: That's good.

SEACREST: Guy, in listening to that phone call from obviously a young person, it really is the beauty of what "American Idol" is and does because it's all ages, it's all walks of life, everybody can get into it and it's a safe show for families to watch. And I know that personally, it's something that I enjoy.

JACKSON: Family appropriate television, Ryan. I mean, we're so lucky and so blessed to have that opportunity because I think you can't buy that.

SEACREST: Takoma, you're on. Go ahead.

CALLER: Hi Katharine. Hi Taylor.


CALLER: Hey, I have got tickets to see you when you're up here in Takoma, Washington.


SEACREST: The tour kicks off when?

HICKS: July 5th.

MCPHEE: July 5th.

CALLER: Yes, I have to wait until September, but I'll wait. Hey quick question for you, I'm just curious about what happens to you like in a day in the life? You know, we don't really hear where you're staying or what you do? Like, you know, are you busy all day and all night or do you get some downtime? What happens on the weekends, things like that?

MCPHEE: Well, to be honest, it's just beginning for us. So we're learning ourselves kind of what our schedules are going to be like. At least for me yesterday, like we said earlier on the show, 45 minutes of rest, and I don't think that's a typical day. But, you know, press all day long.

SEACREST: Take a Saturday and a Sunday during the competition. That's a weekend for most people.

MCPHEE: Oh. During the competition.

HICKS: Saturdays, Saturdays, Saturday...

SEACREST: That's the day that is just like Monday.

JACKSON: It's the day after Friday.

HICKS: We usually probably were rehearsing, rehearsing some songs.

MCPHEE: Well, Saturdays are actually one of our days that we would go see our guest artist, you know.


MCPHEE: That would be like the day that we fly to Graceland or something like that. And we do the whole singing thing for the guests.

HICKS: Sundays are for...

MCPHEE: Sundays were forward shoots, so that is all day long.

SEACREST: But it's the fast lane.


JACKSON: Every day is busy.

HICKS: Everybody is excited. And each group that we visit, all of the excitement it's in one group. We go to the next group, it's all excitement. We go to the next group.

JACKSON: Because we never even see that either. I mean, we come to the show -- yes, we're working doing our other jobs.

SEACREST: All right. We are going to come back in just a moment. Is Taylor coloring his hair blonde? The answer, after the break.


SEACREST: Taylor, the "American Idol" singing his single. Is that on this CD or is that a different one?

HICKS: That's on a different one. It comes out June 13th.

SEACREST: That's coming out on a different one.

MCPHEE: He knows all the dates. I don't know anything.

SEACREST: Season five encores. Taylor, are you going to color your hair blonde? Is that your natural color? What's the deal?

HICKS: No, you know, and I might not have had any hair after that shooting flame of confetti -- after the confetti went up and the fireworks, this one spark came flying across my hair.

SEACREST: That's what happened to Randy in season one.

JACKSON: Yes, I had a Michael Jackson moment, but it was Randy Jackson.

HICKS: Yes, I almost had the Michael Jackson moment.

SEACREST: So you're going to keep the gray?

HICKS: Keeping the gray. The gray will stay.

SEACREST: All right. Let's go to Salem. You're on with us right now. Go ahead.

CALLER: Hi, congratulations Taylor. My three-year-old daughter loves you. She does the soul patrol thing. She calls you the funny guy who tried to kick over the microphone stand.

SEACREST: And missed.

HICKS: And missed.

CALLER: But my question is for Katharine. Katharine, I've been hearing the scientology rumors and just wondered if you could address those. Are you a scientologist?

MCPHEE: No, I'm not a scientologist.

SEACREST: Where does that rumor come from?

MCPHEE: Where does the rumor come from?

JACKSON: Yes, what is that?

MCPHEE: Well, OK, basically, if you want to get into my personal life, fine. I was dating somebody like less than a year ago, who was a scientologist, is a scientologist. And, you know, I'm young. I am still finding my way in the world. I was like really into this guy, and he was totally scientologist.

So I took like a couple of courses and things like that. And they put my name on the Internet. They totally exposed me, and so everybody thought I was a scientologist. And I am no longer affiliated with scientology.

JACKSON: Could you share something? Any lessons you can share with Ryan and I?


SEACREST: Well, how about an answer? Did you get asked to perform at Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes's wedding?

MCPHEE: And, you know, that's the only thing I can connect. Because I have not -- still found out that rumor. The only thing I can think of is maybe a fellow scientologist was like, oh, I did a course with her. And you should -- you know, you never know, it's such a small world. And I don't know. No one has asked me, you know, at least from management side as far as I'm concerned.

SEACREST: All right, Jackson, about 20 seconds left. Your final thoughts for the kids here? The kids, Taylor's my age if not older.

HICKS: Yes, come on now, easy killer.

JACKSON: No, listen, I think they've got the biggest future ahead of them man. I'm so, once again, so proud. I know, Paula and Simon, we all really are, even Simon didn't think -- no, we're really, really proud of them. And I think, man, the sky is the limit. I think you guys can sell millions of records.

And remember, you want to have a career. You don't want to be the flash in the pan. You've got a shot at a career now.

SEACREST: And congratulations to both of you. Thanks for being here.

MCPHEE: Thank you so much.

SEACREST: Thank you Randy.

MCPHEE: Thanks for having us.

JACKSON: Good looking out.

SEACREST: Thank you Larry for having me sit in.

Tuesday, Larry's got Elizabeth Taylor. Wednesday, the Dixie Chicks right here on LARRY KING LIVE.

Anderson Cooper, we are done and going to dinner. It's all you bud.