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And the winner of American Idol season 9 is: Lee Dewyze!
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Keep reading for the recap of the live Idol finale, including Simon Cowell’s last show:
Get ready Idol fans! Tonight is the night you’ve been waiting for for months. Last night, Lee Dewyze and Crystal Bowersox both sang their hearts out, and to their fans, both are winners. But tonight, either one will take home the title of American Idol.
And after nine seasons, it’s also the last time we’ll see Simon Cowell at the judges’ table. It promises to be an exciting two hours!
Ryan opens the show with the news that only 2% of the vote from last night separated the contestants. That doesn’t surprise me.
In Toledo, OH, Crystal’s fan made some big noise for the live video from Huntington Center, and in Mt. Prospect, IL, Lee fans are on the Village Green whooping it up.


Lee and Crystal are dressed in prep school outfits, and they join the rest of the Top 12 for a round of “School’s Out”, with a special guest appearance from Alice Cooper (who, by the way, is a Christian; just some random trivia).
During the break, feel free to check out Brittany Keener’s Twitter page; she’s at the finale and tweeting. http://twitter.com/blkeener.
Kris Allen performs as we come back to the show; I’m sorry. I love him. LOVE him. And while I know Adam has a huge fan following, it’s clear why Kris won last year, just from the perspective of which would appeal to a broader commercial audience.
Ryan reminds us that this is the end of an era – as he talks, Simon hands him a breath mint. Roll the video retrospective of classic Simon moments – the sarcasm, the laughter, the irritation at Paula.
Siobhan Magnus and Aaron Kelly perform a duet of “How Deep Is Your Love” and it’s really very good … segue to The Bee Gees. Well just two, Barry and Robin; for those who forget, Maurice passed away suddenly in 2003. Siobhan and Aaron join them. Cut to the audience; Idol alum, including Jordan Sparks in a sparkly gown, singing away with the song.
We’re back, with Big Mike singing “Taking It To The Streets”, with Michael McDonald. Now there’s a blast from my past. He still sounds great after all these years.
A special song set to some of Simon’s greatest insults, sung by Dane Cook. Simon seems quite nervous as the jokes roll. And out come some of the worst auditions ever, including Norman Gentle and Tatiana and the rest of the contestants voted off the island.
OK, this is fun and all, but honest? Do we need TWO HOURS of this? I think not.
Next. the Top 12 girls singing “Beautiful” (is that the actual name of the song?) and then into “Fighter” and they’re joined by Christian Aguilera for one line before she goes into her own song. Which was very lovely.
Via satellite is Ricky Gervais to say farewell Simon Cowell. Simon roasts mingled with pop music legends and promos for new artist projects.
We’re back, with Lee leading the Top 12 guys into “I Can’t Go For That” and “Maneater”. Tim Urban sounds great. I liked him. Anyway, we’re of course going to hear now from Hall and Oates singing “You Make My Dreams Come True.”
OK, I confess. I’m having fun watching this tonight. I love singing along with this old stuff.
Janelle Wheeler is in Toledo with Crystal’s fans as Crystal gets ready to perform “Ironic”, and intro Alanis Morrisette to sing with her. Honest? Crystal is outsinging her.
At this point in tonight’s show it should be abundantly clear that whoever wins, all of these contestants have had the opportunity of a lifetime and will walk away a billion times farther ahead in their careers than before they began their Idol journey.
Ryan reminds us that it was 5 years ago that Carrie Underwood was crowned American Idol. She’s singing her new single, “Undo It.” I love that she can wear some leather pants and thigh high boots and not look like a tramp. And wow, Carrie wrote that song with Kara. Who knew Kara could write something that good?
I just love Carrie Underwood. She’s an absolute class act and an incredible talent.
Cut to video of Ford photo shoot, which is actually a surprise for the two finalists. Kris Allen is there to give Lee and Crystal their own Ford Fiestas, the ones they designed themselves weeks ago.
Lee and Crystal chat with Ryan about how much fun they’re having tonight, as they introduce Casey James to perform “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”. He looks so much more comfortable not being judged; switch from acoustic to electric and he’s joined by Brett Michaels. I predict Casey will go on to have a very successful career and be much happier not having the Idol winner spotlight on him.
Lee Dewyze and a medley of hits with Chicago. I love Chicago, but let’s face it. Couldn’t they have paired Lee with a band or artist more in line with his musical style? Just because he’s from Chicago? He’s hardly even singing. Ooo, I like Lee singing “25 or 6 to 4”.
Cut to the video in Mt. Prospect village green and what appears to be the entire town out rooting for Leet.
And another video retrospective of Simon.
Here we go with General Larry Platt singing his song, “Pants On The Ground.” Good for him. He’s got some background dancers and this is his big moment on national TV. And he’s joined by Willimam Hung, background dancers drop their drawers.
This two hours feels like we’re saying goodbye to the show, not just Simon and a season. I don’t remember; is the finale always two loong hours like this?
More “celebration” of Simon, with Paula talking about working with Simon, or as she calls it American’s favorite dysfunctional family. And here she comes on the stage; Simon stands up and so does everyone else. Paula looks great. She greets everyone, and then gets to Simon. She makes a few jokes, and doesn’t get much laughter from the audience. Cut to another video, thankfully, clips from the years to “My Way”.
Segue to Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia, Carrie Underwood, Jordin Sparks, Taylor Hicks, Kris Allen all singing “Together We Are One”; where’s David Cook? Now the stage fills with former contestants singing backup. Cut to Paula sitting on Simon’s lap at the judges table.
Ryan calls Simon to the stage and hands him the mic; Simon says he didn’t think he was going to be this emotional but he genuinely is. He thanks everyone for the support and fun and their sense of humor, and he’s happy seeing the contestants back. He says that there’s talk about who’s going to replace him as judge, but he says the fans are really the judges. And he says he’s really, really going to miss Ryan.
Aww. Now can we find out who won???
The Top 10 are singing again, this time with Janet Jackson. Wow, she’s cut all of her hair off; she looks so soft and subdued and beautiful. And so much like Michael, it’s eerie. OK, and now we see the old Janet we know and love on “Nasty”. I wondered why she was wearing the ear mic but using a handheld.
And now Ryan brings us back to Crystal and Lee, who, after all, are tonight’s main focus. They both auditioned in Chicago and both came with high hopes and hearts on their sleeves. And here they are, for one more duet, “I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends.” You can tell these two genuinely like each other and their musical tastes mesh. And then introduce Joe Cocker, who joins them in song.
And here’s the m oment we’ve all been waiting for: Lee and Crystal are on stage with Ryan as the official envelope is delivered by Telescope with the “certified results”. Lee looks like he’s going to pass out. And the winner is LEE DEWYZE!
He’s completely overwhelmed, LOL. Teary, tongue tied, emotional, stunned, happy and he loves Crystal. He says he’s never been happier in his life. And now he’s going to sing “Beautiful Day.” You can’t even see him for the confetti, but when they cut in close you can see he’s still stunned.
And there you have it. The winner of American Idol season 9 is Lee Dewyze, a paint salesman from Mt. Prospect, IL. A humble guy with a dream who got the chance of a lifetime and he made the most of it.
Thanks to all of my readers who followed along this season. Don’t forget that I’m here all year long with music news, and you can find more writing and links on my own blog.