A few weeks after finishing in second place on the television show Amici di Maria de Filippi in 2009, Valerio Scanu released his debut EP, Sentimento, a six-track effort with some English-language material. Two of the songs on the EP, "Can't Stop" and "Domani," were previously released on the Amici di Maria de Filippi various-artists compilation Scialla. While the 19-year-old singer isn't quite as tremendous a vocalist as Amici di Maria de Filippi winner Alessandra Amoroso, he compensates with charisma and versatility. For instance, whereas Amoroso specializes in power ballads with a dash of soul, always singing them in Italian, Scanu performs a broader range of material on his debut EP and proves himself a capable English-language vocalist. One of the highlights is "Can't Stop," a contemporary R&B song with an infectious rhythm and forceful vocals from Scanu on the chorus. In contrast, the title track is more typical of what one would expect from an Amici di Maria de Filippi contestant, a dramatic power ballad that starts gently with piano, adds layer upon layer of orchestration, and builds to soaring heights. Other highlights include "All That You Know," another sweeping power ballad that swaps guitar for piano, and "Dopo di Me," a relaxed pop/rock song with female harmony vocals and a subtle yet steady drumbeat that differentiates it from the aforementioned power ballads. While Scanu's debut EP performance leaves plenty of room for improvement, it's nice to see him stretching his boundaries and trying out not only different styles but also different languages. All in all, Sentimento is a promising debut effort by Scanu that should entertain those who were won over by the young singer on Amici di Maria de Filippi.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier