Music pros give tips to ''American Idol'' finalists

Music pros give tips to ''American Idol'' finalists -- What record executives had to say about Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee

LOOK TO Joe Cocker and Michael McDonald. Use those lungs, Gray!
BEG TO WORK WITH Mary J. Blige. You know, ”to bring out that soulful side,” says Universal’s David Renzer.
YOUR X-FACTOR The Soul Patrol are the new Claymates. Says BMG Songs’ Derrick Thompson: ”You’ve clearly got a loyal fan following.”

LOOK TO Streisand and Christina Aguilera. Be a balladeer with an edge.
BEG TO WORK WITH Song team David Foster and Diane Warren (”Un-Break My Heart”). ”Be the junior Celine,” says Thompson. ”There’s a market for that.”
YOUR X-FACTOR ”Play subtle,” says EMI’s Jody Gerson. ”With the right pop song, there’s a chance of success.”

Originally posted May 26 2006 — 12:00 AM EDT

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