How to Choose an Idol

How to choose between two of Chicago's own

By Kate Allt
|  Wednesday, May 26, 2010  |  Updated 11:18 AM CDT
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A Decade of Chicago Reality Moments

AP

It's down to the final two on "Idol."

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Mt. Prospect Welcomes Hometown Idol

Lee DeWyze greets fans who have voted for him on American Idol each week.
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American Idol has turned into the battle of big shoulders as both remaining contestants have Chicago ties. So who's going to win -- rock 'n' roll crooner Lee DeWyze or hippie mom Crystal Bowersox?

Here's a few things to keep in mind:

The Case for Lee DeWyze

With all the momentum from the semi-final, DeWyze was the favorite heading into Tuesday's finale, but his performances were not as strong as in weeks past. With his first song of the night, the judges urged him to bring more to the stage.

One aspect DeWyze did master Tuesday night was the emotion of his songs. His rendition of R.E.M's "Everybody Hurts" successfully told the song's story. Old nerves die hard, however, and more pitch problems plagued DeWyze's performance.

DeWyze’s “Idol” journey might be one of his biggest advantages. Audiences have watched DeWyze grow from a timid, shy, polite young man to a confident, soulful musician. Typically, contestants whose talent and abilities develop throughout the show are popular with “Idol” voters because they feel as though they've take a journey. While the judges weren't over-enthusiastic about DeWyze's final performances, they did praise him for his integrity and good-natured personality.

DeWyze has proven himself capable in weeks past. With the pressure of the final, he let the nerves get to him, and his performances suffered. However, DeWyze has always been known for his emotionally accessible, hardworking persona, and that was no different Tuesday night. 

The Case for Crystal Bowersox

Bowersox is, in many ways, the most naturally talented. While DeWyze's emotional journey tugs on the hearstrings, Bowersox has a shot based on her powerful pipes alone.

Bowersox has been a rock all season, delivering consistent performances, and she continued to do so in "Idol"'s finale. Her first song, Janis Joplin's "Me and Bobby McGee" proved her enormous stage presence and self-confidence.

Since her Chicago audition, “MamaSox” has not compromised her unique personality or her distinctive voice, choosing only songs that are meaningful and speak to her as a person. Her second performance of "Black Velvet" showed Bowersox was in it to win it. Audiences may identify with her integrity.

It was Bowersox's final song, "Up to the Mountain" by Patty Griffin, that prompted judge Randy Jackson to call it her "best performance [and]  best moment" of the show, and an abnormally complimentary Simon Cowell to commend it as "outstanding". On top of her emotional performance, Bowersox took the opportunity to display the unique qualities of her voice.

In the end, it has come down to which Midwesterner can best utilize their advantages and most impress those all-important viewers at home.

Tune in tonight for the announcement!

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