Crystal storms back, Lee nervous in "Idol" finale

Tue May 25, 2010 10:56pm EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Crystal Bowersox stormed back against a nervous Lee DeWyze in the "American Idol" performance finale Tuesday, stealing the hearts of the judges and setting up a nail-biting finish to America's most-watched TV show.

Bowersox, 24, a dreadlocked single mom from Ohio whose energy had been lacking in recent weeks, was the clear judges' favorite for the 2010 title after her three-song set.

But America's choice will be revealed Wednesday night after millions of text and telephone votes from around the nation have been counted.

"This is one of your best moments, at a perfect time" judge Randy Jackson told Bowersox after she closed Tuesday's show with an emotional rendition of the contemporary folk-gospel song "Up to the Mountain."

"You took that song and you absolutely nailed it," the usually abrasive Simon Cowell told her after her version of 1990s rock classic "Black Velvet."

DeWyze, 24, seen as the dark horse of the TV singing show, had been tipped by Cowell to win before Tuesday's final performances in front of 7,000 fans.

But the bluesy singer and guitarist, who a year ago was working in a Chicago paint store, seemed to have lost some of the confidence that saw him overshadow Bowersox last week.

"I would expect a lot more passion and excitement. That was a kiss on the cheek, when I want a kiss on the lips," Cowell said of DeWyze's first effort, "The Boxer."   Continued...

<p>Performer Crystal Bowersox poses at the party for the 12 finalists of the television show "American Idol" in Los Angeles, March 11, 2010. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>