American Idol: DeWyze Battles Bowersox For The Win

Videos by American Songwriter

One interesting fact about American Idol last night: none of the six songs performed sucked.

Instead, there were cuts by Patty Griffin, Kris Kristofferson, R.E.M., U2, and even….Alannah Myles. And this night was for the whole thing!

A heated battle between Goo-Goo-esque crooner Lee DeWyze and saucy, how-could-you-not-like-her soulstress Crystal Bowersox, last night’s American Idol was the final round of competition before fans choose their new singing superhero.

The first round was all about de ja vu, as DeWyze and Bowersox revisited the songs that had helped them make it to the final two. DeWyze trotted out “The Boxer,” and Bowersox once again channeled Janis Joplin for “Me And Bobby McGee.”

Winner: Dewyze, just for his unique take on the song’s melody.

Randy thought the performance lacked energy, but Ellen dug it even better than the first time. Crystal’s “Bobby McGee” was…well, “Bobby McGee.” It’s hard to mess up, if you have the pipes for it.

Next up, the contestants had to sing show producer Simon Fuller’s picks. DeWyze rescued R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts” from pop purgatory, and Crystal Bowersox got slinky with Alannah Myles’ “Black Velvet,” a song we had forgot existed.

We thought DeWyze gave a refreshing, Peter Gabriel-y take on the track, with some nice improvs on the original melody. But Simon Cowell didn’t agree.  “It started off a little pitchy,” said Randy. What’s a dawg to do?

Winner: DeWyze

Then it was time to sing the song the contestants would use as their first single if they won Idol. We really weren’t feeling DeWyze’s take on U2’s “Beautiful Day.”  A rather limp performance, it lacked the grandeur the song is most associated with.

It’s a song that probably needs Bono to pull it off — with some sunglasses and the “a stong wind is about to knock me over” stage presence. Hearing this version makes you realize the U2 frontman puts 110 percent into it every time he sings it.

Bowersox, however, needed no help nailing Patty Griffin’s “Up To The Mountain.” She owned it, with some inviting melisma, and a thoroughly emotional vocal.

“I thought that was by far the best performance, and the song of the night,” said Cowell. “And since this is going to be the final critique I’m ever going to give, I would just like to say that was outstanding.”

Winner: Bowersox

Our vote for your next American Idol, based on last night: DeWyze.

Tell us if you agree.


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