Tori Kelly/Unbreakable Smile/Capitol
When contestants fail to win American Idol, the parting banter of ‘just keep going’ and/or ‘you haven’t heard the last of me,’ feels like the swan song of a dead bird.
You know that name and face is headed for the fast track to irrelevancy. So much so, that you wonder if AI is more about carnage and less about fulfilling hopes and dreams.
Tori Kelly may not have made it past Hollywood Week during season 9 but she certainly bucked the trend of falling to wayside after failing to capture the crown.
In fact, who remembers her at all from the gig?
On the strength of a lot of hard work and her powerhouse single “Nobody Love,” Kelly has positioned herself as one of the year’s breakouts.
Armed with a cross-genre album that almost always takes full advantage of her smoky pipes that kill at will, Kelly pushes boundaries around in nearly every track.
The sassy smack of “Expensive” features Daye Jack and recalls Christina Aguilera’s heyday.
Songwriters/producers Max Martin and Ed Sheeran both pop here to lend their talent to a project that was not in need of it yet is only enhanced by it.
“First Heartbreak” puts Kelly’s heart in a shadowbox for us all to see, feel and import into our own lives.
In this finicky business, you never know who come, go and become legend.
Kelly has proven that she can go 12 rounds with fate, craft incredible songs and stay current without being contrived.
Unbreakable Smile is a collection that says the smart money could on her to stick around for awhile.