LOS ANGELES — To say Katharine McPhee was ready for the cameras to roll on her first video would be an understatement of ... well, "American Idol"-like proportions.
"I've been practicing in the mirror since I was like 4, trying to shed a tear, like, making the video faces," the 22-year-old singer admitted on the set Sunday. "I've been working on it!"
McPhee makes her entrance into the video world under the guidance of Liz Friedlander — who has helmed videos for Kelly Clarkson, Ashlee Simpson and Avril Lavigne — with "Over It," the first single from McPhee's self-titled debut, due Tuesday (January 30).
"It's a good little breakup song," McPhee said. "It's one of those songs where after hearing it you will never ever again be able to say, 'I'm so over this right now' or 'I'm over him' without breaking into song. It's one of those infectious songs that I just have absolutely grown to love and want to listen to all the time. Well ... I don't know about all the time, but it just is always in my head and I think it's a perfect single to introduce to people what I'm doing with my music."
In the video, McPhee is shown singing the song, then setting off to hand-deliver it to her cheating boyfriend. "There's different looks to show the different levels of being over it," she added. "There's the mad over it, the sad over it, the vengeful over it."
McPhee tracks down her mate at a "down and dirty" basement party. What happens next (whether she gives him the tape and dumps him or gives him a second chance) is up to viewers — literally.
"We're doing two endings so the fans can pick which one they like the best," the singer said of her fanbase, dubbed the McPhans. "It's all about the fans, so we got to leave it up to them."
Like the video, Katharine called making the album "a dream come true," even though it was more difficult than she expected (see "Katharine McPhee's LP: A Little Bit Pussycat Dolls, A Little Bit Mariah").
"I was always in a little box by myself, like I'm in an insane asylum, and it felt like I was starting to get crazy after a while, like literally in the dark singing [the same things] over and over again," she explained. "One of the biggest challenges I had to overcome was realizing it was about performance, not just about the sound."
And as McPhee intended, the album showcases a variety of sounds and performances, from the "fun and silly" dance-floor ditty "Open Toes" to the more somber "Neglected."
"It starts off as a really simple R&B/pop record and then it takes on this kind of full-on power ballad, but it still has its cool factor about it," McPhee said of the latter, which she co-wrote. "It just always gives me chills, the lyrics are so powerful, like, 'If these walls could talk, baby/ What would they say?' And I can actually relate to it because it is about somebody specific in my life. I'm not going to divulge all that information just yet. I have to keep some secrets, you know."
The album opens with "Love Story," which McPhee hopes to release as a single down the road. "It actually takes on this old-school vibe, which is really hot, like it starts with some 'doo-bops' in the background," she said.
"I think that the album actually takes on a lot of different eras of music and I think there is a piece of music in there for everybody," she added. "People will be like, 'Oh yeah, that's the kind of stuff she did on 'Idol,' but she also does this.' "