January 11, 2007 at 09:10 PM EST

The theory that what all (pop) singers really want to do is act is getting some serious credence this week. In addition to Justin Timberlake gangsta-ing it up at the multiplex in Alpha Dog, on the the small screen, I present:

Exhibit A: Katharine McPhee (pictured) is kicking off sweeps month on Ugly Betty. Last season’s American Idol runner-up will appear as herself on the Feb. 1 episode, “I’m Coming Out,” about Mode‘s runway show. Looks like an opportunity for McPhee address her seven-year battle with bulimia. Shockingly enough, the ep will air two days after the release of her self-titled album.

Exhibit B: The Kat-ster isn’t the only Idol getting small screen love. Original champ Kelly Clarkson is taking baby steps back into scripted entertainment by starring as “Kelly,” a local television station intern, on this Sunday’s episode of Reba on the CW. Clarkson grew up listening to McEntire as a kid and sang a duet with the country star on AI back in 2002. 

Exhibit C: Dave Matthews, last seen in the kiddie flick Because of Winn-Dixie, is also stretching his range by playing a piano prodigy on House. In an episode slated for March, the Grammy-winner will make his TV debut as Patrick, a savant whose virtuosity on the ivories is due to a childhood accident (insert “Crash Into Me” joke here) that also left him with a severe neurological condition. Even stranger, his dad is apparently going to be played by Kurtwood Smith, a.k.a. Topher Grace’s dad on That ’70s Show. Because the two look so much alike.

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