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Katharine McPhee may have been the runner-up on the fifth season of American Idol, but these days, she’s undoubtedly coming out on top. The 27-year-old plays an aspiring Broadway star on NBC’s buzzworthy new series, Smash, showing off her powerhouse vocal abilities along the way. We asked the up-and-comer, who’s had supporting roles in films like Shark Night 3D and on shows such as Community, to give us a behind-the-scenes look at her life.

Favorite musical: Into the Woods. I’ve been geeking out for the last two days because Bernadette Peters is here on set as our guest star. I used to watch her on video over and over again from the Broadway production of Into the Woods, with her playing the witch. She’s amazing.

First concert: Christina Aguilera

Guilty pleasure: Cake made from out of the box, like Duncan Hines

Favorite way to unwind: Peppermint tea with raw honey

On your iPod: Florence and the Machine — the new album is amazing.

Favorite way to work up a sweat: Running down the West Side Highway on a perfect fall day

Favorite meal: Pizza — anywhere I can get it!

Best way to spend the weekend: Shopping, dining and being outdoors

Three things you can’t live without: Family, dogs and shoes. I love a great pair of shoes.