Hell no, Adele can sing. You can hear Bonnie Raitt and Dusty Springfield and Joan Armatrading and her friend Amy Winehouse in her vocal style. A bit of Linda Ronstadt too.
She does not have a huge range, and not a beautiful head voice like the big Diva's, but she has a thoughtful, soulful voice, and a tone that reminds the world of what good singing sounds like. Hers is the best major league voice in a long time but still far from the greats.
It has been a while since a dark contralto has taken the public's imagination. Soprano and Mezzo Soprano voices have been in charge for a while. Adele's tone and smoky interpretations, out of the box at nineteen gave her all she needed to be a sensation. In the cynical world of pop music it is a shock that she became known at all. (think Karen Carpenter-would she be a star today with that gorgeous voice?)
Yeah, she has too many sad songs, and her voice has a catch that inhibits a fluid style. The bonus is that she doesn't sing endless runs and conveys the words to her songs better than most pop singers. She writes many of those songs too.
Adele is overweight, and has a throwback style of dressing. If you hate her voice, don't listen, but to reduce her to Taylor Swift's status of having a niche fan base, based on simplistic allegiances is to do her a great disservice.
Adele is a long time contender. She knows her voice and interprets within it beautifully. She is great and having fun, disrespecting no one.
Adele will be singing somewhere long after this level of fame is gone. You can hear it in the nuance of her feeling when she sings, and her love of yes, sad smoky dark and bluesy songs. She is not a pop princess, but don't count her out on that either if she wants to do it.
She has a bit of an atonal style, and lots of people don't get that. So did Bartok.
Most everyone is low class in the music business. It is the most instinctive talent there is, and gets packaged in different ways.
I like Esparanza too, and Bruno Mars and Florence Welch and yes, Kelly Clarkson. Award shows are for judging dresses, not talent.
I am posting hometown, from Adele's first album, live. She is never going to sound different than the way you know. Like Bonnie Raitt, it is all in the nuances. Adele is fine.