The ninth season goes to the dark horse.
Lee DeWyze, the 24-year old Mount Prospect, Ill. native and former paint salesman, will probably never have to pick up a can of Benjamin Moore again.
“How does it feel?” asked Ryan Seacrest. “I don’t know,” said a clearly overwhelmed winner.
Last night's results virtually mirrored the last two seasons, with their early Sure Bets (David Archuleta and Adam Lambert) and a couple of lesser known contestants who were almost non-descript early on during their respective runs. They were David Cook and Kris Allen, and of course, the Non-Descripts won. Crystal Bowersox, the single mom from a remote Ohio town with the bluesy chops, was also considered a sure bet for most of the season.
DeWyze, as well, seemed to come out of nowhere, and that may have been by design. His early song choices - by artists like Snow Patrol, Hinder and Owl City - were probably not well-known by the judges but certainly were by the young viewers he needed to court. He also became more assured as the season went along while other early front-runners, like runner-up Bowersox or Michael Lynche, seemed to be on automatic pilot. That may have left the impression, accurate or not, that they were playing it safe while DeWyze was taking chances. In a season widely perceived to be the dullest ever, autopilot was something no contestant could afford.
Is DeWyze good? Yes, and telegenic too. Vocally, he's inferior to Bowersox, but he looks better on TV, and in "Idol" terms, that's half the battle.
Don't feel bad for "Moma Sox." Runner-up Archuleta was just voted the best "Idol" ever by Billboard voters, while Lambert has more than double (685,000) the album sales of Allen. There's no shame in second place, and maybe even the real glory.