David Archuleta, "Christmas From the Heart"
Former "American Idol" contestant David Archuleta's new holiday album, "Christmas From the Heart," puts the singer's mellifluous voice front and center and wins over the listener with his original renditions of classic holiday music. Archuleta's velvety delivery of "Silent Night" lulls the listener into a dream-like state, while the string arrangements on "Oh Holy Night" add to the intensity. And his Latin vocals combined with an urgent backbeat on "Pat-a-Pan" lend a more contemporary feeling to the set. Archuleta pays tribute to his Latin heritage by singing in Spanish on "Riu Riu Chiu"; elsewhere, the singer summons his usual pop style (while slipping in light sleigh bells) for "Melodies of Christmas," a song he co-wrote. Archuleta's vocal virtuosity gives "Christmas From the Heart" a timelessness that should appeal to his fans and lovers of the traditional.-Kelsey Paine