Alesha Dixon

The Entertainer

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Alesha Dixon's third studio album, the second to be released, launches at a very different point of the singer turned dancing celebrity's career. The Entertainer was released after a platinum-selling album with four Top 20 singles, as well as after a shift to the judging panel of the Strictly Come Dancing stage. Both of these milestones reflect a marked change in Alesha's studio recordings, which in just two years have shown a marked improvement in terms of quality. Just about every line to every song on The Entertainer is brassy, reflecting a more confident and sexy pop star. Alesha isn't just guessing when she says "I be the apple of pop-hop music" on the blazing dance number "La La La": she's telling the truth. Few artists in 2010 are able to blend hip-hop, rap, dance, and pop in one 12-pack of songs, but Dixon does it with mastery. Nearly every track is crafted to radio perfection, whether through the synth-stomp blasts of "Drummer Boy" and "Entertainer" or via the slick pop hook on "Every Little Part of Me," featuring the multifaceted Brit pop star Jay Sean -- Alesha leaves you craving more tunes to bump and grind along to. At her finest, Alesha really does remind listeners of the greats: "On Top" is Alesha playing Janet Jackson at her finest, and "Radio," when remixed featuring Wiley, shows that Alesha can rival the likes of even some of Whitney Houston's and Madonna's latest club tunes. On "La La La," Alesha opens with a shout-out to the United States, announcing that she's planning on taking over. With the batch of songs she has now, this would not be surprising. It's hard to tell so early in Alesha's solo career whether she'll be more of a household name over the next few years, but a follow-up release this promising from a solo pop-hop female vocalist, as Alesha puts it herself, has not been found since Rihanna's third album, Good Girl Gone Bad. Alesha isn't just making a claim; an entertainer, she definitely is.

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