Katharine McPhee could easily have been content with a neatly packaged singing career. Instead, the young woman who sparked “McPheever” as the runner-up for the fifth season of “American Idol,” won’t be categorized.

The latest example is her refusal to be defined by the two years she spent on the NBC musical series “Smash.” In other words: don’t expect to hear show tunes on her upcoming new disc, planned for a 2014 release.

“I love the ability to be a chameleon singer, sing different kind of styles and sound more Broadway here, more twangy here, more edgy here and that’s fun,” she recently told Rolling Stone. “I want something that’s fun, that feels sophisticated but youthful.”

The singer, actress and all-around entertainer and philanthropist (she’s the celebrity ambassador for Malaria No More) will appear here Sunday in a benefit concert for the Ronald McDonald House of Buffalo. McPhee performs at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts. Tickets are $47 to $77 (box office, For information, visit

– Toni Ruberto