While writing this article may sabotage any chance I have at a future relationship with 2006 American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee, I feel compelled to single her out as an emblem of how essential it is for a true pop star to command the stage.

Back at the tail end of January, I had the pleasure of reviewing Katharine’s self-titled debut, which consisted of mostly pop tripe that was elevated by the Idoler’s alluring voice. It sold pretty well, although she (and most of the contestants) were heavily outshined by surprise chart-topper Chris Daughtry.

The point is this girl seems to have it all: a great voice, a wonderful body, confidence, a down-to-Earth quality and a wonderful body. The camera loves McPhee, a fact not lost on Hollywood, who has invited the 23-year-old to join the cast of an Adam Sandler movie. (It involves a sorority, I’m there!)

However, will Katharine McPhee find a flourishing career in music? I ask because despite her good voice, she lacks a fundamental stage aura that can hold my attention for more than a minute. Really, there’s not a lot there, something which might explain her losing to the bouncier Taylor Hicks.

Her newest single is the catchy ditty “Love Story,” a lively and innocent account of a young girl developing feelings for her male companion. The recently premiered video features Katharine as a sultry vixen, conveying animal lust through those all-inviting eyes. Staring at the video, I couldn’t help but think we have a real star on our hands.

In order to put a stamp on my latest epiphany, I had to first see how well she carries it live. Much to my dismay, she doesn’t carry it very far at all. From a clip I found of her on a morning news show, her confident video persona is pushed to the side, in favor of a stiff, indifferent counterpart, who seems to be secretly praying that nobody’s watching.

I was more distracted by the weather scroll at the bottom of the screen (low of -1 degrees on Tuesday? Even in February that climate, wherever it is, proves inhospitable). Other female artists like Joss Stone can bring their steaminess to the stage, but without this flair, can Katharine really be a huge act?

Contrast the two videos below and decide for yourself.

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