American Idol season-six winner Jordin Sparks does a sweet job with a hip-hop flavored R&B debut album thanks to a roster of heavy-hitting producers who backed Beyonce and Rihanna among others, writes Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone. She does Prince funk with "Shy Boy," giving her that trademark high-school girlishness.
She's got the chops to give Kelly Clarkson a run for her money and can be playful with a riff on an old James Taylor standard, Sheffield writes. But once she channels Mariah Carey with chokes and sobs, dragging the slow songs, or acts the soulful grownup, the spell is broken. Her songs aren't ready for adulthood.