The extraordinarily ordinary Sam Smith is seeing his success as one in the eye for "critics":
"I remember my first Shepherd's Bush Empire gig, and at that point I'd had two number-one singles, the Critics' Choice Award and the Sound poll, and critics were just waiting to pull me down. At first, that made me upset, but as I've been doing this for the past year, I've started to realise that you're never going to please critics because they're not Sam Smith fans. The only people you can really impress are those who really want to come and see you play. The majority of critics are being paid to watch you perform, they don't actually want to see you sing, so I can't expect them to like me."Just re-read that quote. He won an award, from critics, called the Critics Choice award, and then says 'well, you're never going to please the critics'.
Smith's entire career is based on getting two awards, both voted for by nobody but music critics. Sure, there's plenty of reason there to lambast critics for their bland taste, but to suggest that somehow his sales have been in the face of staunch criticism is rewriting history a little.