Breaking Down the "Idol" Finale

It's down to two contestants with Chicago ties

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    In this publicity image released by Fox, the remaining four contestants on the singing competition series, "American Idol," from left, Casey James, Crystal Bowersox, Lee DeWyze and Michael Lynche are shown on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Fox, Michael Becker)

    It's anybody's game going into "American Idol's" final night of voting. 

    Lee DeWyze is still the crowd favorite, but a strong performance by Crystal Bowersox, who owned the final night of competition, could propel her to stardom when the winner is announced Tuesday.

    Mt. Prospect Welcomes Hometown Idol

    [CHI] Mt. Prospect Welcomes Hometown Idol
    Lee DeWyze greets fans who have voted for him on American Idol each week. (Published Saturday, May 15, 2010)

    Here's how the Monday night performance finale broke down:

    Round One
    DeWyze struggled with some old difficulties -- namely pitch, nerves and energy -- that he seemed to have conquered weeks ago. His first song, a reprise of his Top-7 performance of “The Boxer,” was good, but it wasn’t great. The judges urged him to fight harder and bring more to the stage.



    Bowersox, on the other hand, came out confident and sounded great.

    She responded to DeWyze’s first performance with a soulful rendition of Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee” that proved Bowersox’s enormous stage presence and confidence.

    Round Two
    “Idol” producer Simon Fuller chose both the contestants’ second songs.

    He handed DeWyze R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts," which seemd to fit the rocker's voice well. DeWyze was able to express the emotion of the story, but old nerves die hard and DeWyze wobbled through the song.  

    But Bowersox nailed Fuller’s choice, “Black Velvet” by Alannah Myles. Beyond her amazing vocals, she proved that her willpower and determination to win is stronger than ever. 

    Round Three
    As is tradition on the show, both final contestants chose a song that will become thier first single if they win the competition (À la Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This”).

    DeWyze covered U2’s hit “Beautiful Day,” a song that highlighted more of his flaws than it did his accomplishments. While the judges weren’t overenthusiastic at DeWyze’s final attempt for the “Idol” crown, they did praise his integrity, growth and all-around good-natured personality.

    Bowersox’s final song, Patty Griffin’s “Up to the Mountain,” prompted judge Randy Jackson to call it her “best performance [and] best moment” of the show. An abnormally complimentary Simon Cowell, giving his last critique of his “American Idol” career, called the performance “outstanding”. 

    Final Result?
    So who is it going to be? Judges unanimously agreed that Bowersox took all three rounds Tuesday night. But as everybody knows, it’s up to the American public to decide the final vote. While Bowersox has been consistently strong, DeWyze is the poster-child for the “American Idol journey,” and has grown from week to week.

    The tenth American Idol will be named tonight at 7 p.m. on Fox.  

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