Los Angeles Lee DeWyze, a paint store clerk who overcame his shyness to impress “American Idol” judges and viewers with his spirit and soulful voice, triumphed Wednesday over bluesy musician Crystal Bowersox in the contest’s ninth season.
When asked by Ryan Seacrest how he felt, an emotional DeWyze said, “I don’t know. It’s amazing, thank you, guys, so much ... I love you. Crystal, I love you.”
The finalists had closely matched fan bases, with just a 2 percent voting gap between them coming into the finale, Seacrest said. DeWyze’s victory was based on votes cast after Tuesday’s performance show, which drew more judges’ compliments for Bowersox, 24, of Toledo, Ohio, than for DeWyze, also 24, of Mount Prospect, Ill.
The finale made the most of Simon Cowell’s last appearance as a judge. A film package recounting highlights from the Cowell years was shown and comedian Dane Cook came on stage to sing “Simon Says,” made up of the Brit’s barbed comments, and to crack a few jokes.
“You have the honesty of Abe Lincoln and the charm of the guy who shot him,” Cook told Cowell, who took the ribbing with a smile.