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.
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.