05/15/2006 AT 7:00 AM ET
American Idol finalist Katharine McPhee was treated like a home-coming queen when she paid a visit to her old Los Angeles high school.
Teenage boys screamed out marriage proposals at Notre Dame High School, and cheerleaders chanted “Go, Katharine, go!” Even Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa showed up at the school’s packed gym to honor the 22-year-old, the Associated Press reports.
“You make me feel like a winner, regardless of what happens,” McPhee, the first L.A. native to make it big on Idol, told the crowd as she spent an hour singing, dancing and hugging former teachers.
McPhee will face off against Taylor Hicks and Elliot Yamin before the Idol winner is announced May 24, and her school is on her side: Posters in the gym declared, “Vote for Katharine – Catch the McPhever,” “She’s McPhine” and “McPhee is Our Favorite.”
McPhee’s reaction to it all? “I’m more nervous now than on the show,” she said before singing “God Bless the Child” – the song she delivered at her original Idol audition.
Her hometown visit, along with Hicks’s and Yamin’s, will be shown on next week’s Idol.