Kris Allen very well may have been the nicest person to ever win American Idol, a distinction that doesn't necessarily guarantee a fruitful recording career. He was not helped in the slightest by being paired with Adam Lambert, a singer who exuded raw charisma and seems fated to overshadow Allen, right down to how Lambert released his gloriously glitzy Trespassing two weeks before Allen's second album, Thank You Camellia. Then again, these two 2012 albums illustrate that Adam and Kris are targeting vastly different audiences and that Allen is quite comfortable with his calling in the middle of the road. And if his eponymous 2009 debut was deliberately calculated not to offend, Thank You Camellia is even sweeter, a shiny, bright adult pop record designed to cause nary a ripple. Any lingering stately American Idol pompousness has been trimmed away, which is good for Kris -- his chipper disposition is better suited for such sparkling, open settings as this. Thank You Camellia doesn't have a lot of tunes that grab; it's a collection of growers that are as appealing as pure sonics as they are as tunes. Allen isn't a powerful presence, but these songs don't need a compelling frontman; they need somebody to softly sell the melodies and Kris does so, amiably twisting the rhymes on the hip-hop-ish "Rooftops" with as much understated charm as he sings love songs. If Allen's detriment is that he's too nice to make a strong impression, that's also his core strength: he's a good guy singing unabashedly square songs and it's hard not to be a little charmed by that.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine