May 28, 2010 / 11:36 PM / 9 years ago

Life after "American Idol" opens up for Lee and Crystal

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - “American Idol” winner Lee DeWyze and runner-up Crystal Bowersox said on Friday they look forward to their new lives after finishing the hit TV show, and they both described being on “Idol” as exhausting work.

DeWyze, whose win over Bowersox earlier this week came as a surprise to some “Idol” watchers, said performing on the singing contest is great, but it can be tough to work.

Each performance has to be about a minute and a half, and often “Idol” contestants must sing in genres, such as country or soul, they would not normally attempt.

“I’m just excited to get on the big stage and put on a performance, put on a show without time limits, without judging,” DeWyze told reporters on a conference call.

DeWyze beat Bowersox when the tally of votes from viewers was revealed in the season finale of “American Idol” on Wednesday. As a result, he wins a guaranteed recording contract, but Bowersox is also expected to get a record deal, just like past runner-ups.

DeWyze said that by the time contestants reach the final weeks of “Idol” they are exhausted from the mental stress of the show, but “not in a bad way.”

Bowersox, a single mom with a 16 month-old son, had a similar take on her “Idol” experience.

“It’s a hard process, people don’t realize how grueling the show is,” she said in a separate conference call.

DeWyze, 24, said he likes to listen to music by Ben Harper, Rage Against the Machine, Soundgarden and Kings of Leon, and he wants to record an album with a “folk rock kind of alternative vibe to it.”

“I want it to be very earthy but at the same time be able to reach out to a lot of different people,” he said.

Bowersox, also 24, said that for her part, she looks forward to recording “simple songs that people can relate to, enjoy and hopefully learn something from, through my experience.”

The Ohio native has revealed she and her boyfriend, Tony Kusian, split up the morning of her final Tuesday night performance, when she had to compete for votes and the “Idol” crown.

“Tony’s been my rock through all of this, he’s been there for me and he’s been amazing and I’ve got a great amount of respect and love for him,” she said. “And it was a mutual thing. He’s a small town guy and wants a simple, quiet life and I respect that of him.”

Bowersox was asked if she and DeWyze would ever date, because they seem to get along.

“Oh no, that wouldn’t happen,” she said. “Lee’s like a brother to me, I love him dearly but not that way.”

DeWyze grew up outside Chicago, and he said that he loves hanging out with friends at the city’s bars, going to see a ball game and strolling through the arts district.

As it happens, Bowersox has spent a lot of time in Chicago. She lived there for five years and would perform in the city’s subways.

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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