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Katherine McPhee: 'Scorpion,' singing and sad 'Smash' fans

If you're one of the "Smash" fans still smarting from the demise of the musical drama, Katherine McPhee wants you to know that you're not alone. "I still run into quite a few people who are still quite heartbroken about 'Smash' being no longer on," McPhee says. "They have to sort of recover. I have to give them their time to get over it."

But moving on is a part of life, and McPhee has moved on to "Scorpion," her new drama series about a think tank of eccentric geniuses helping the Department of Homeland Security combat high-tech threats. McPhee stars as Paige Dineen, tasked with helping the brainiacs interact with everyday people — sort of the Marilyn Munster of the bunch.

The series is inspired by the life experiences of Scorpion Computer Services CEO Walter O'Brien, a computer prodigy who claims to have a 190 IQ and who serves as executive producer for the series. (On the show, he's played by Elyes Gabel). And McPhee says just having O'Brien around has enriched her life in ways she wasn't expecting.

"He is incapable of simply just being, I guess, normal. He is constantly just trying to figure out how to solve problems and solve people’s issues," she says. "At an afternoon barbecue that our writers threw, I said, 'Yeah, I don’t know what new car I want to get. My lease is up soon in, you know, like this spring or something.' And he literally just started to strategically lay out my options and what would be the best option for me to help me understand what I really wanted and what I was really looking for, because I wasn’t even really aware of what I wanted to get out of a car. And basically at the end of it I was like, 'OK, cool, so this is the car I want,' and he was like, 'Yeah, pretty much.'"

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That car, by the way? It's not too fancy, don't worry. "I am not going to buy a Porsche," McPhee says. "That might have been on the list, but no, I'm not going to. That wasn't my choice, my ultimate choice." And despite the show being about people with some pretty impressive brain power, McPhee herself insists she's pretty far from a brainiac. "I was terrible in school, but I do actually love statistics," she says. "I like statistics because I think they make you sound smart. Statistics. Just saying statistics sounds very intelligent, doesn’t it?"

SIDEBAR: Kat McPhee, constant songstress
Given her rise to fame on "American Idol" and her work on the Broadway-based drama "Smash," it's not hard to believe that Katherine McPhee would often be up for belting out a tune. And apparently she's more prone to singing than even she's aware herself. "It’s nice to have Kat McPhee on set," her "Scorpion" co-star Eddie Kaye Thomas says. "She doesn’t realize how much she sings, and it’s really nice when it gets really late to hear her just casually singing a song. Last night she was singing love songs to her Chihuahua." Sounds delightful.

Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter:@nedrick

 
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