Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox embraced in giddy jubilee moments after learning that they would be advancing to next week’s "American Idol" final on last night’s televised program. Fellow contestant Casey James held his head high and spoke appreciatively of his experience, despite being eliminated from the singing competition after Wednesday night’s result show.
DeWyze, a former paint salesman from Chicago, and Bowersox, a single mother from Toledo, received the most votes out of the 47 million tallied following Tuesday night’s contest. The two sing in a similar throaty, bluesy style over acoustic rhythm guitar on most of their performances. They also performed a duet last week of the Oscar winning song "Falling Slowly," from the Irish film “Once.” It was easily one of the season’s most memorable performances.
The two contestants beat out literally hundreds of thousands of applicants who attempted to use America’s highest rated television program as a platform to launch a career in the music industry. Wednesday night’s program was highlighted by video footage of each of the three remaining contestants traveling to their home towns to re-unite with family, friends, and be honored with parades and cheers from thousands of fans. All three come from relatively humble backgrounds and now have been catapulted in the public’s eye.
As is customary for the eliminated contestant, James sang his last song on the "Idol" stage, “Daughters” by John Mayer. He strode around confidently, hugging his mother, shaking hands with judge Randy Jackson, and then singling out a little blonde girl—presumably a family member, and serenading her in one of the most tender moments of the season. It was a classy and respectable exit for the Texas guitarist and singer, who was frequently teased for his good looks and mock romance with Idol judge Kara DioGuardi.
All three contestants put in solid performances the previous night, with Lee DeWyze’s rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” easily standing out as the night’s best performance.
In the early rounds, Bowersox, who is often affectionately referred to as Mama Sox, was the more confident contestant. However, as the weeks waned on in to the final rounds, DeWyze’s confidence and stage presence soared, as Bowersox seemed to tighten up ever so slightly. Both contestants are capable of truly moving performances, which should set up next Tuesday’s finale to be memorable.
Now in its ninth season, “American Idol” has transcended success by television standards, to become one of the few guaranteed mediums to promote and sell pop music in an industry that has suffered slumping revenues following the advent of online digital distribution.