The ever-smiling Des takes the Engelbert path, singing a sad song with an easy sweetness, drawing any sting it might have had, and reaching a bumper audience in the process. Thankfully O’Connor is much less bravura than Humperdinck, and his arrangers give him space to breathe too, so “I Pretend” is more gentle than unctious, though still pretty soporofic.

Score: 3

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