LOS ANGELES -- The new "American Idol" is Lee DeWyze, a paint store clerk who overcame his shyness and prevailed over soulful Crystal Bowersox in the singing contest's ninth season.
Host Ryan Seacrest said on Wednesday's finale that the 24-year-old DeWyze of Mount Prospect, Ill., edged Bowersox, also 24, of Toledo, Ohio, in viewer votes cast after Tuesday's performance show.
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Although Bowersox drew higher marks from the judges for her performance this week, the panel had reaffirmed its respect for DeWyze's talent and his character – and the audience agreed. He'll release a single, "Beautiful Day."
Wednesday's finale also marked the departure of judge Simon Cowell, walking down memory lane through film clips, a parody song by Dane Clark and the return of ex-judge Paula Abdul.