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This Christmas I’m going to risk it all!” Kelly Clarkson sings on Wrapped in Red’s title track. What sort of risks does the former American Idol winner have in mind? A new EDM direction? A duet with Kanye West?

But close inspection of the seasonal offerings on her album reveal no such risk-taking activities. Instead it traffics in a predictable array of standards (“White Christmas”, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”), leavened with the occasional original composition, such as “Every Christmas” – on which Clarkson offers a more accurate portrait of her choice of holiday music: “Every Christmas is always the same”.

But unlike Leona Lewis, her British counterpart, Clarkson throws herself into her songs, from the sweet country sentimentality of “Blue Christmas” to the soulful extravagance of “Please Come Home for Christmas (Bells Will Be Ringing)”. The red-blooded approach brings life to an otherwise predictable array of songs.

Kelly Clarkson

Wrapped in Red

(RCA)

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