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Read this: Adam Lambert, Susan Boyle, Jennifer Hudson, Larry David, Shakira, Jeffrey Zaslow


Adam Lambert performs at the American Music Awards on Sunday. (Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)

Good afternoon, dear readers. Tear yourself away from Black Friday logistics and read up on today's new music releases, including debut offerings from reality television darlings Adam Lambert and Susan Boyle.

Allison Stewart says Lambert's effort, "For Your Entertainment," is "a whirligig of pianos and strings," in which he "doesn't always succeed: The riotous electro-meets-hair-metal track 'Music Again,' written by former Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins, resembles a Darkness song after a run-in with a BeDazzler."

But it's better than Boyle's "I Dreamed A Dream":

The album is schmaltzy and overdone, the musical equivalent of a Thomas Kinkade painting, though this isn't Boyle's fault. She wisely resists any impulse toward musical scenery chewing, bringing a welcome sense of understatement to would-be pathos-fests like "Cry Me a River." A slowed-down version of the Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses" is close to perfection, as is her unlikely cover of Patty Griffin's ode to MLK, "Up to the Mountain."

Ultimately, Stewart says, "Boyle lacks the savvy of Lambert, who likely emerged from the womb with a 10-point plan for world domination and a can of hairspray." We challenge you to conjure up better imagery sometime today.

Elsewhere in today's Style section: Jennifer Hudson will perform at tonight's state dinner for the Prime Minister of India. Tom Shales wonders if Larry David has run out of ideas. Chris Richards reviews the new Shakira album. And Monica Hesse profiles writer Jeffrey Zaslow.

Tips? Sightings? E-mail us: reliablesource@washpost.com. And follow us on Twitter: @ReliableSource.

By The Reliable Source  |  November 24, 2009; 12:08 PM ET
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