American Idol Finalists to Meet the President

07/24/2006 at 09:50 AM EDT

American Idol Finalists to Meet the President
Taylor Hicks
Taylor Hicks and the other American Idol finalists will meet President Bush at the Oval Office on Friday – an Idol first.

Hicks has an "in" at the White House: Susan Whitson, his 9th grade English teacher at Hoover High School in Birmingham, Ala., is now First Lady Laura Bush's press secretary.

("Every once in a while he would bring his harmonica to class," Whitson told PEOPLE in June, "and on a couple of occasions I was like, 'Okay Taylor, why don't you get in front and play?' ")

After their Presidential engagement, which will include a tour of the White House, the Idols will perform at Washington, D.C.'s Verizon Center as part of their "American Idols Live" tour.

It was not clear whether Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee, who has so far been off the tour due to bronchitis and laryngitis, will make it to the White House.

In winning the Fox talent contest, Hicks's 63 million votes topped the 59 million Bush received to win the 2004 election, the Associated Press notes – although Idol viewers may vote more than once.

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