How did David Archuleta finish as runner-up on season seven of American Idol? asked August Brown in the Los Angeles Times online. His just-released debut album “is larded with awkward modernist R&B, Christian semaphore ballads,” and “warm-milk mewling.” The “best teen pop” often explores “dangerous ideas, yet Archuleta counts Tamyra Gray and Kelly Clarkson as influences in his liner notes—kids deserve more salacious pandering than that.”

“Most teen Disney heroes have got nothing on David Archuleta,” said Kerri Mason in Billboard online. The 17-year-old was “one of the most exciting American Idol contenders” ever, and he has “one of those once-in-a-decade pop voices—a silky tenor with a natural melancholy that makes him a heartbreaker by default.”

“Li’l David Archuleta isn’t a singer,” said Greg Barber in The Washington Post online, “he’s a scientist.” And his debut album is “a concoction specially formulated to increase blood flow to the hearts of girls aged 10 to 15.” This is “exactly the kind of Top 40 candy that many radio stations crave—catchy, slick, and with a built-in audience of millions clad in Juno hoodies.”

Archuleta’s first major-label effort is “hardly worth getting in a lather over,” said Preston Jones in the Star-Telegram online. Now that the America Idol “furor” has “mostly subsided,” it’s plain to see that Archuleta is “little more than human Silly Putty.” He “helped write only two of the 12 songs” on this album, and he likely won’t “have anything approaching a conventional career.”