Katharine McPhee Reveals Things Are Looking Up for Karen on 'Smash'

The NBC musical's star also talked about Season 2 guest star and fellow "American Idol" alum Jennifer Hudson.

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Last season, NBC's Smash brought you the pleasure of seeing guest star Uma Thurman strut her stuff as Marilyn Monroe. This season features two new guest stars including Broadway icon Liza Minnelli and Oscar winner, Jennifer Hudson, who, like series regular, Katharine McPhee, got her start on FOX's American Idol.

You’d think that when Idol alums like McPhee and Hudson get together the conversation inevitably turns to their TV origins, but not so much.

“It’s not something I go up to her and say, ‘Hey, how was you’re experience on American Idol?” McPhee told reporters. “I’m sure if she was sitting here, we both would say we’re really incredibly grateful for the platform that it gave us but it did what it was supposed to do, which was give us that platform to move onto things that we ultimately really dreamed of doing.”

For Hudson, that dream had to have something to do with winning a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2007 for Dream Girls. For McPhee, starring on Smash is as good as it gets.

“Last season I was like, ‘I’m on a TV show! This is great!” she confessed. “And that’s what’s been so fantastic, maybe I would have been on the show without Idol, maybe I wouldn't have. But I know it was an amazing platform.”

Hudson will be appearing on the fourth episode of the new season. And though it was hardly an Idol reunion for the pair, McPhee found it a pleasure just to hear her guest star sing.

“She was incredibly wonderful to have on set and incredibly professional and wonderful to just listen to sing these amazing songs,” the 28-year-old says.

Season 1 focused on a splashy musical chronicling the life of Marilyn Monroe, a role that went to guest star Thurman's Rebecca Duvall due more to her recognizable name than for her talent in the spotlight. After enduring the heartbreak of losing the role and then losing her boyfriend to Ivy (Megan Hilty), Karen finally gets a shot at the part and nails it.

But, the new season has Smash fans wondering if Karen will ever recover from all the disappointments she endured on Season 1. According to McPhee, she’ll be just fine.

“We start the second season about two weeks after the finale,” she said. “So Karen has just finished taking over the role of Marilyn and she’s obviously had a huge personal blow with Ivy doing what she did. She’s basically just trying to be as professional as she can and move on from the personal disasters in her life and really look forward to what the futures has to hold cause it’s, at the moment, looking really bright for her.”

The Smash two-hour season premiere airs Tuesday at 9PM on NBC.

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