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Crystal Bowersox outshines Lee DeWyze in the fashion finale

Granted the "American Idol" finale fashion veneer was spread on thick as cake frosting with everybody, including the judges, sprucing up for the final showdown between the two best contestants on a mediocre season.

But Crystal Bowersox rose to the occasion on all counts, while Lee DeWyze, sadly, did not. Truth told, he looked great and ready to rumble on his first appearance in a swanky dark jacket, bright white tee and jeans, but his version of “The Boxer” lacked the rootsie guts we’ve come to expect from him.

Crystal delivered the oomph in her take of “Me and Bobby McGee,” and a new little fashion twist too. It was a quirky layered look -- sort of a prepster-meets-Stevie Nicks – a long, brownish belted sweater over a tiered asymmetrical skirt with a bit of lace at the hem and brown boots. Did we love it? No, but it said she really cared.

Her next look was a black, satin wrap dress (to go along with her powerful version of “Black Velvet”) with spaghetti straps, mermaid hem and a dollop of sequins. She did not seem entirely comfortable in the frock though perhaps it was the high-heeled shoes. Ellen DeGeneres noted the distinct wardrobe change, saying, “It’s like a Cher concert.” Crystal can definitely pull off the glam, she just needs to get used to it.

At the end, Lee looked decent and authentic in his black leather hoodie with grommet details, jeans and his cute red Converse sneaks. But neither his outfit ensemble nor his “Beautiful Day” lived up to the high expectations of the night.

On the other hand, Crystal looked stunning in her all black get-up – skinny jeans, one-shouldered tunic top with black onyx studded belt, and whoa – a massive necklace of silver and (but of course) crystal. Our favorite accessory was her battered guitar – it underscores that she’s the real deal. And then the song – a killer rendition of “Up To The Mountain,” just amped up the Crystal factor.

And thank you dear judges for bringing it tonight. Props to Randy Jackson who wore his own variation on a fox hunt jacket (red, velvet collar) and a colorful patterned shirt to match -- total finale fashion. Likewise, Simon Cowell has never looked more dapper in a brilliant white button down (and we mean down) shirt and perfectly tailored pinstriped jacket. And speaking of good tailoring, though Ellen donned dark denim, her jacket was razor sharp. Kara DioGuardi looked lovely in a black-on-black patterned dress with a deep u-shaped dip in the front and gorgeous dangling earrings. But especially when it gets down to style, we still miss Paula Abdul – she would have given us more fashion fodder.

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