Catherine McPhee is back on the American Idol stage.
The 37-year-old singer-actress is a runner-up in the fifth season of the singing competition, losing to Taylor Hicks.
Now she is back on the show to perform with two of this season’s contestants, Alice Rai and Willie Spence.
Growing up, I would go to my mother’s bed and watch American Idol and remember when [McPhee] she was on the show, “Rai said in a package on the show.” I just thought she was this crazy force. “
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The two performed Whitney Houston̵
“We’re going to sing ‘I’m You Baby Tonight’ by Whitney Houston, which I heard you didn’t even know about, which brought me to tears because you’re so young,” jokes the Smash actress.
The performance stunned the judges, who gushed over the couple.
“Together, I tell you, you complimented each other so well,” Lionel Richie said. “… Together you made it look like you’ve been doing it for a hundred years.”
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“I think you’re the first singer to really get on stage with the other star,” praised Katy Perry.
Spence began his evening with a cover of Beth Middler’s “Wind Under My Wings” before greeting McPhee on stage to perform “The Prayer” by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli.
“One of the things that I think is really special to you and that I love about singers is their ability to make you feel like you’re telling a story,” McPhee said in rehearsals.
The star dedicated her performance to her father, who died three years ago.
“I hope it will be as special to the audience as it is to us,” she erupted.
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As was the case with McPhee’s performance with Wray, the trio of judges had nothing to say but kind words about the duo.
McPhee has appeared on American Idol several times since second place in 2006. According to IMDb, she appeared in the show’s 7th, 15th and 18th seasons in addition to her performance on Sunday night.
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Rai also performed a cover of “Something in the Water” by Carrie Underwood, another alum from the show’s earlier days.