Crystal to battle Lee for "American Idol" title

Thu May 20, 2010 2:25am EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze will battle each other for the "American Idol" title next week after guitarist Casey James was voted off by viewers on Wednesday.

Bowersox, a 24-year-old dreadlocked mom, had for months seemed certain to win the top-rated TV singing show. But DeWyze, 23, who worked as a paintshop clerk in Chicago before auditioning for the show last year, has gained steadily in confidence.

His performance of Leonard Cohen's classic "Hallelujah" on Tuesday stunned the judges and brought the "Idol" studio audience to its feet.

Judge Randy Jackson said on Wednesday that DeWyze had "blossomed beyond belief" during the five month-long season.

"I've never wanted to win more than I do right now," DeWyze said.

Bowersox, who a year ago was playing guitar and singing in small-town Ohio bars, also impressed with her version of Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed."

But she seemed amazed when told on Wednesday that she was through to the finals. "I'm safe?" she asked in disbelief.

Bowersox, whose voice has been compared to Janis Joplin, is the first woman to make it to the "Idol" finale since 2007 when Jordin Sparks went on to win the title.

The expected elimination of blond, blue-eyed James followed his lackluster rendition of John Mayer's "Daughters" on Tuesday.   Continued...