Sam Smith, The Thrill Of It All (Capitol) *****; Sheridan Smith, Sheridan (East West) ****

THE concept of Sam Smith vs Sheridan Smith is an interesting proposition. Certainly, in a very short period both Smiths have become standard bearers for excellence in the entertainment world.

It was indeed a joy to see that the major television companies have supported both new albums with TV specials: the BBC showcased Sam’s catalogue with a prestigious event supported by the BBC Concert Orchestra. Meanwhile ITV excelled with its glitzy Sheridan Special featuring Alexandra Armstrong.

Sam Smith’s second album, following the 12 million-selling debut In the Lonely Hour, is truly exquisite. The deluxe 14-track set (also available on double white vinyl) acts as a confessional diary of gloriously sentimental numbers destined to become beloved and cherished standards.

There are obvious parallels with Adele’s finest moments, as Smith skilfully channels angst and heartbreak that will chime with a mass audience. Too Good At Goodbyes and One Last Song are already established hits. Likewise, Say It First, Burning, Pray and No Peace (featuring YEBBA) are about to become public property.

York Press:

Sheridan Smith: "Needs great material"

If you can count Sheridan Smith’s wonderful turn as Fanny Brice on the cast album of Funny Girl, and her appearance on the Legally Blonde cast album, technically Sheridan is Miss Smith’s third album. However, the marketing campaign bills this as a debut.

As glorious as Dame Sheridan (it’s just a matter of time) is as an actor, she is not a writer and therefore needs great material. Fortunately, this is supplied in trumps, albeit delivered in a skew-whiff manner.

Understandably, fans are keen to hear Sheridan’s take on Cilla’s Anyone Who Had A Heart again, and a longer than usual (yet still incomplete) interpretation of Noel Coward’s Mad About The Boy is a perfect fit for the thespian performer. However, these jar with equally affecting versions of Robert Palmer’s Addicted To Love and Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy.