Anyone with even a passing interest in popular culture - if culture's the word - will be aware of one of the most colourful characters that The X Factor has chewed up and spat out in recent years. Welshman Rhydian Roberts played his role on the singing contest (the pantomime villain with the ridiculous hair, who slowly won over the hearts of the nation with his ostentatious operatic histronics) to perfection, only to be pipped to the post by Leon Jackson.
In a way, making Roberts into a character was the only way that the classically-trained performer would fit into a programme like X Factor; but translating his flamboyant live performances to CD, in a market already over-saturated with similar opera-seasoned artists, was never going to be easy.
Perhaps that's why Rhydian fails to work on any level whatsoever. Although the 25-year-old is a technically gifted and sometimes-impressive vocalist, and he does occasionally manage to transmit a suitable level of emotion to these covers, this collection of songs is so preposterously mundane that it'll threaten to ruin your Christmas.
Presumably used solely as a vehicle for which to land a role in an Andrew Lloyd Webber production, songs from West Side Story (Somewhere) and Man of La Mancha (The Impossible Dream) are doused in heavy volumes of schmaltz, as are hammy renditions of Bridge Over Troubled Water, Queen's Who Wants to Live Forever and Meatloaf's Not A Dry Eye in the House, while his take on I Believe is - unbelievably - even worse than Robson and Jerome's.
The gilded production, gospel choirs and kids' chorus are almost so spectacularly cheesy that they come full-circle and become enjoyable again; but otherwise, the main emotion you'll feel listening to this album is mild irritation. Unless you're a bored housewife, looking for a new soundtrack to do your washing-up to, that is.