Less than a year after forming, British boy band Collabro have effectively fast-tracked themselves to stardom. Assembling as a group of strangers in January 2014, the young quintet won a spot on Britain's Got Talent just one month later, the group members quickly developing their camaraderie and personalities each week as millions of viewers looked on. It turns out that Britain couldn't get enough of their semi-classical renderings of songs from Les Mis‚rables and other popular musicals, and by the show's June finale Collabro had emerged as victors. So what happens when your weekly dose of national exposure suddenly comes to a close? You put out an album on Simon Cowell's Syco imprint as quickly as possible to capitalize on your momentum. Released in August 2014, Stars contains studio versions of the songs that won Collabro their title, namely "Stars" and "Bring Him Home" from Les Mis‚rables along with other musical theater balladry like Frozen's "Let It Go," Moulin Rouge's "Come What May," and even the Wizard of Oz classic "Over the Rainbow." A couple of token pop selections from John Legend and OneRepublic allow them to test the waters outside of Broadway, but they're at their strongest here as musical thespians. As far as debuts go, it's hard to expect too much from Collabro. Stars is essentially a soundtrack to their rookie year, which took place entirely on a television show. The backing tracks are a bit too synthesized and the selections a bit generic, but for the most part the album faithfully replicates the sound and style of the five smooth-voiced young men whom viewers fell in love with over the summer. It's not great, but it's familiar. Once they have some time to develop off-camera, in the studio, and on tour, we'll get a chance to see who Collabro really are. ~ Timothy Monger
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