Kristinia DeBarge, daughter of DeBarge group member James DeBarge, failed to make the Top Ten round of American Juniors' first (and final) season. That was no obstacle for the aspiring performer. The show did not catapult any of its finalists to fame on the level of American Idol's Kelly Clarkson (or Diana DeGarmo, for that matter), and the early exit allowed DeBarge to be spared from performing a song titled "Cheeseburgers for Me." Six years after appearing on AJ, DeBarge debuts with Exposed, the first release on Babyface's Island-funded Soda Pop label. Babyface is clearly behind her; he has a hand in five of the album's eleven songs, and their makeup befits a label called Soda Pop -- mostly youthful and energized pop-R&B, not the brand of relaxed, acoustic guitar-driven adult contemporary R&B from which Face has rarely strayed the last several years. When DeBarge works with others, like the Jam (a production duo, not the punk trio), the Pentagon (a five-member team, not the building), and Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic), the results are similar. Through and through, Exposed is an album directed at older tweens and teens, and it does tend to act its age, never presenting DeBarge as someone pretending to be any more wise or worldly than the average 19-year-old. Some of the material could use a shot of personality, but DeBarge is too relatable to deny. And though her voice has yet to fully develop and lacks the uniqueness running through her bloodline, it's clear she landed a major-label contract on the basis of her talent.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman