By Rob Harvilla
Updated February 06, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST

The demand for an operatic rendition of Eric Carmen’s ”All by Myself” is finally answered with Il Divo’s Ancora, the multiplatinum multiculti quartet’s third platter of classical classics, treacly originals, and pop covers. Formed by American Idol‘s Simon Cowell, Il Divo specialize in watered-down, pop-addled opera gallantry, a highly suspect genre we dub ”Oprah.” Here, at their best, they graft opera’s technical elegance to pop’s catchy melodrama, but more often they get carried away with the show-offy stuff. Mariah Carey’s ”Hero” and the Josh Groban-covered ”You Raise Me Up” aren’t exactly understated to begin with; on Ancora, they’re given the Idol treatment, with lots of overemoting, crescendos, and hurricane-chested theatrics. ”I Believe in You,” a bombastic team-up with Celine Dion, suffers a similarly overcooked fate. A little melodrama goes a long way; a little restraint would go even further.

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