In a matter of four years, Candice Glover went from being told that her career wouldn't go farther than a hotel lobby, to recording a song co-written by her favorite artist. Descriptively dispatched by Simon Cowell during the Hollywood round of American Idol's ninth season, she returned for the 11th season and fared only a little better. On her third attempt, during season 12, she won the competition -- the first woman champion since season six's Jordin Sparks.
For all her bumbling awkwardness and insincerity on American Idol, Mariah Carey did offer up one unfailingly honest barometer of her approval: an upward flick of the wrist that might best be described as a “gospel hand. ” The primary target of her benediction, of course, was a contestant made in the spitting image of the soul singers Carey and countless other pop divas have spent their careers emulating. Boasting raw vocal talent and musical intelligence in equal measure, season winner Candice Glover blends all the elements that appeal to fans of traditional R&B balladry.
American Idol's 12th victor deserves better than this much-delayed hodgepodge of styles and ideas. The voice that pushed Alicia Keys and U2 songs into unimagined octaves all season long – inspiring judge Nicki Minaj to say, "I want to skin you and wear you" – is on full display. But the songs reveal a serious identity crisis. An entire album of cosmopolitan Mark Ronson-esque pop soul like "Same Kinda Man" and the Shabba Ranks-interpolating "In the Middle" could have been revelatory.
New York Daily News (Jim Faber) Opinion: Excellent
Candice Glover “Music Speaks” (19/Interscope) 4 Stars She may be the latest winner on “American Idol,” but barely anything on Candice Glover’s debut feels contemporary. Rather than drawing from modern R&B, trendy hip-hop or gimmicky pop, most of Glover’s music references the formality and poise of 1960s lounge music. It’s dominated by dressy piano ballads — elegant in melody, grand in performance.
Candice Glover won last season’s “American Idol” by demonstrating the kind of powerful vocal style not heard on the show since Jennifer Hudson. Glover’s debut showcases her immense talent and bucks a formulaic trend many R&B singers have fallen prey to in recent years. This is a traditional song-based disc without the barrage of guest MCs added for crossover appeal.