And this year's 'American Idol' winner is...

It was a night of laughs, tears, jaw-dropping performances and surprise appearances, and even if Season 9 didn't quite get your juices flowing, the 2010 finale pulled out plenty of stops. They didn't all make sense -- Alice Cooper, while entertaining backed up by a herd of Season 9ers wearing their Catholic school best, felt like a stretch. Hall and Oates' medley with the Top 6 guys was a better fit, and Crystal Bowersox's duet with Alanis Morissette drove home a notion we'd long reconciled: that she, more than any other Season 9 finalist, deserved to be standing on that stage.

That's not to discount Lee DeWyze's "Idol" journey, which has been impressive from the start, stumbles and all. Lee matched Crystal's natural affinity for songs by the likes of Janis Joplin and Sheryl Crow with less predictable choices like Owl City's "Fireflies" and Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars." And when it came to his own American songbook, which included classics like Simon and Garfunkel's "The Boxer" and The Box Tops' "The Letter," Lee delivered raw power and an aw-shucks humility.

Crystal was seasoned where Lee was inexperienced. Lee was shy where Crystal was outspoken. Simon loved Crystal, then he loved Lee, then he loved Crystal again! So who won out in the end?

Lee DeWyze was crowned the winner of "American Idol" Season 9. The once shy underdog from Mount Prospect, Ill., came out on top after weeks of building momentum and amassing a loyal following of DeVotees. Like Crystal, Lee never compromised his music, sense of style or that dopey innocence we all fell in love with. And I say that in the most loving way. What comes next is a maddening 48 hours chock full of interviews and appearances, including a one-on-one chat with Idol Tracker later tonight! Check back later for reaction from the winner himself. BeLeeve!

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