Katharine McPhee a Sanjaya fan

American Idol Season Five runner-up Katharine McPhee says she thinks the digitally-altered album...

American Idol Season Five runner-up Katharine McPhee says she thinks the digitally-altered album cover with Idol phenom Sanjaya Malakar's face on her body is "hilarious". (Stan Behal/Sun Media)

SHERRI WOOD - Sun Media

, Last Updated: 5:50 AM ET

Either American Idol Season 5 runner-up Katharine McPhee truly got a kick out of Sanjaya Malakar's mock album cover (featuring Malakar's head superimposed on McPhee's body), or she's an excellent liar.

"I love it, I love it, I llllooove it! I thought it was hilarious," said McPhee, during an interview at a Toronto hotel, while in town to perform at today's Canadian Idol auditions at Yonge-Dundas Square. "First of all, I think Sanjaya is an absolute phenomenon. Every year, there's something that makes the show even bigger than it was the year before. I'm on the Sanjaya train! I'm like, 'Go Sanjaya!' "

But does the digitally-altered photo make McPhee think the two would have beautiful children together?

"Oh no, no, no!! Please, no!!" said McPhee. "Maybe they'd have nice hair, though!"

The photo is a mock-up of McPhee's self-titled debut cover shot -- a racy image of the former Idol contestant wearing nothing but a skimpy sweater and black patent leather thigh-high boots.

The sexually charged photo is a far cry from the wholesome image the franchise is known for.

"Originally that wasn't my photo of choice -- there were other options with the same outfit but with a different positioning of the legs," McPhee said.

"You'll never see me in a little sweater and thigh-high boots walking down the street, but for me it's a fun thing to do because I can be a character and dress up. If you look at it compared to what's out there, it's tame. I mean, look at Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera -- I mean, I was showing like, an inch of skin. It's a little ridiculous that people say I've changed so much based on that photo."

It's not the first storm of controversy the singer's landed herself in. During a recent visit to The Tyra Banks Show, the singer caused quite the kerfuffle trying to prove her breasts aren't fake -- by asking Banks to feel them.

"I'm still so shocked about how much attention that got -- I had no idea that would end up on every page in every magazine, just because she touched my boobs to tell if they're real or not," said McPhee.

"I was glad to be able to clear up a rumour that was completely false -- that was important to me. I hated the (breast implant rumours). I don't know why it bothered me so much, but it did. It's just so cliche for celebrities to become famous, get skinny, get a boob job -- and I didn't want people to think of me like that."

Adds McPhee: "I may have been born and raised in L.A., but I'm still a country girl at heart."

There is, however, one rumour that, sadly, rings true. The 22-year-old recently admitted to a 6-year battle with bulimia. After auditioning for American Idol, McPhee sought treatment for the first time.

"I do believe American Idol saved my life," said McPhee. "Finally, it felt like doors were opening for me and the dark clouds were separating. Making it to the finals really saved me. I was able to find what I was passionate about, which was important because the things you love in life will eventually overcome the demons."

Although McPhee admits she'll likely never shake the ghost of American Idol over the course of her career, she doesn't necessarily view the Idol stigma as something that needs to be shook.

"There are certain challenges being from American Idol, like the (proving your) legitimacy thing, but there's much less of that now," said McPhee. "Look at Kelly (Clarkson) and Reuben (Studdard) and Jennifer Hudson -- they've all sold records and it's proving that real artists do come out of Idol. I'm grateful for that."


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