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Katharine McPhee struggled to pronounce a few of the 2018 Tony Award nominees on Tuesday.
Taking the stage at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, the American Idol alumna made her first flub upon announcing the nominees for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play. While McPhee correctly pronounced the name of nominee Mark Rylance, she struggled to clearly state the name of his production—Farinelli and the King.
“Wait, how do I saw that?” she asked her co-host Leslie Odom Jr.
Things only went downhill from there. Her second slip-up came when she mispronounced “SpongeBob” upon announcing that SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical had received a nomination for Best Book of a Musical. Even Odom got in on the joke after the Waitress star corrected herself upon announcing the nominees for Best Original Score.
“It’s the theater,” he teased, emphasizing the live nature of the show.
Tony Awards 2018: Mean Girls and SpongeBob SquarePants Lead the Nominees
Unfortunately, the blunders continued. Upon announcing the nominees for Best Scenic Design of a Play, McPhee mispronounced the last name of Miriam Buether from Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women.
“Miriam—oh, they did it phonetically. It’s just screwing me up,” McPhee said.
Odom encouragingly told her “you got it” before whispering the last name in her ear.
As McPhee continued to announce the nominees, she mispronounced a few names of the Best Scenic Design of a Musical contenders. She also continued to mispronounce “SpongeBob” from SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical.
“No, that’s right,” Odom said, making light of the slip-up. “I’m pretty sure that’s right. That’s how you say it.”
“I’ve not been drinking this morning,” McPhee told the audience.
Even Odom started adopting McPhee’s mispronunciation.
At another point, McPhee hit the microphone and let out an “Oh, sh-t!”
“This is going well,” Odom teased as the audience laughed at the blunders.
“They hired me for comic relief,” McPhee added.
McPhee also wasn’t afraid to laugh at her co-host’s mistakes. When Odom struggled to pronounce Noma Dumezweni from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two, McPhee said, “Oh! You finally got one!”
Still, her flubs continued and she had to ask Odom for help with pronouncing Alexander Gemignani from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel.
Watch the video to see McPhee announce the nominees.
CBS will broadcast the 72nd annual ceremony from Radio City Music Hall on June 10 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
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