While France is no exception to the craze for music reality shows inspired by American Idol, the end results are sometimes unexpectedly ambitious. Olivia Ruiz, for one, went on to become one of the leading names of the new generation of French female singer/songwriters. Camélia Jordana, who controversially lost the 2009 edition of Nouvelle Star, is clearly hoping to do the same. She sure has started on the right foot with Camélia Jordana, her eponymously titled debut album. To be sure, at only 17 she is still searching for an identity, both personally and musically, but her efforts not to be pigeonholed are much in evidence. First of all, there is little on this album that can be associated with the schmaltzapalooza that music reality shows usually deliver. If anything, Jordana's songs are much closer in sound and spirit (although not quite there in terms of quality) to contemporary female artists such as Neko Case, Regina Spektor, Joanna Newsom, and Keren Ann -- hardly trite commercial acts, in other words. Secondly, she is also intent on separating herself from other French singers by relying on new composers such as Babx and AbEL K1, rather than on proven hitmakers. All contributed tailor-made songs for Jordana, with the plausible intent of building an image for the young singer. It is a bit of a trial-and-error game, with character stories ranking slightly below semi-autobiographical narratives such as "Lettera," a less than flattering portrait of her reality show experience. The focal point of the album is naturally Jordana's voice, always charming and bent on probing expressive nuances rather than overstating the obvious. A pleasant surprise that could very well bloom into a distinguished member of France's new chanson.
AllMusic Review by Mariano Prunes