Last night on American Idol, the competition was Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox. Lee sang Boxer, he sang Everybody hurts, and he sang, Beautiful Day.
In the beginning of the American Idol Season Nine series, Lee was a paint salesman who liked to play guitar and write and sing songs. When he first came to the stage, he was shy and had little confidence. HIs family told him he was good, but they could have told him that, and he could have sounded like a duck. They loved him.
Here is a summary of Lee’s performances on American Idol from my previous articles from Season 9, 2010.
2/24/2010 Lee’s first performance with the Top 24: Lee performed, Snow Patrol’s, “Chasing Cars”. He played guitar, and sang off key but he had gruffness in his voice like Danny Gokey that was appealing. Ellen said, “Um, good song choice, except when you started singing and went off key. I love the tone of your voice – you have a distinctive voice but it got off a bit.”
3/2/2010 The 10 guys’ performances: Lee performed Hinder’s ‘Lips of an Angel’ and it was a good choice for him. Simon said to Lee, “Raise your shoulders. Vocally, you are head and shoulders above everyone on your side of the competition. Self-belief. You look terrified. You’ve just got to take the center. I am waiting for you to totally commit. You may be the one to be”.
3/10/2010 – round 3 American Idol for the guys: Lee Dewyze sang ‘Fireflies’ by Owl City – He sounded OK but it was a bit weak. I still like his voice but he didn’t do much with it tonight. Randy said,”Dawg – strange song, you had a couple of pitch problems but you worked it out.”
3/16/2010 Top 12 Guys: Lee did Beast of Burden and he sounded good tonight. The arrangement highlighted his voice and he’s got the voice. I could hear his music on the radio. Randy said, “You really came home for me; a cross between Rob Thomas and Dave Matthews. It was dope.”
3/23 Top 11: Lee performed ‘The Letter’ by the Box Tops, a little off key and off time but he had a few surprises vocally, changing it up to a bluesy melody. He definitely worked the stage. Kara said, “Lee, you raised the bar for yourself. I never heard you sound more comfortable and look so good. From the first time that you stood on that stage, the progress is tremendous. Believe that you are good.”
3/30 Top 10: Lee performed “Treat her like a Lady” by the Cornelius Brothers. Usher was impressed with him and told him he had to believe in himself. Lee was a star tonight. He played his guitar, worked the stage, his smile and he rocked the house. Simon said, “I’ve always believed in you, and we had some frustrations that you didn’t believe in yourself. Something has happened and I want you to watch the show tonight, this is the night your life may have changed forever.”
4/6, Top 9: Lee is the resident worry-wart. Each week he says, “I’m going home.” Even if Simon said he was the best one of the night, he would still say it so the Idol campers make jokes – especially about his closeness to fellow contestant and roomie, Andrew. Lee performed ‘Hey Jude’. Lee said I picked the song because I love it. He tried to get the crowd to sing it and back him and all of a sudden he had a bag piper join him on stage as an accompaniment. Randy said, “That guy was funny. I love that. I almost wore a kilt tonight but then I thought no not tonight. Dude you don’t have to be nervous. You’ve got this. Please believe.” Who went home from Top 9?
4/13 Top 8 (& 9): Adam says Lee is great and there is not much going on on his face. Be playful and smile. If Lee smiles and connects a bit more, he’s got a chance to do really well. Lee performed, ‘A Little Less Conversation’. I thought Lee sounded great, playing his acoustic guitar. Randy said, “Yo, check it out. I love the fact that you are definitely in the zone. I love the voice and the rhythm and the guitar
4/20 Top 7: Alicia Keyes mentored the idols and told Lee “people have to feel the words.” He performed Boxer by Simon and Garfunkle. Ellen said, “Beautiful song choice, we are seeing your soul, and depth, better and better. Who got voted off?
4/27 Top 6: Lee performed the song, “You’re Still the One”, Shania Twain liked it but she felt that Lee was rushing it and had him try it with piano without his guitar. When Lee performed the song on the Idol stage, he did use his guitar but he slowed it down and he did ok. Ellen said, “You did better than a pretty good job. It always sounds like your version and you couldn’t look cuter, and I say all aboard the Shania Twain.”
5/4 Top 5 on American Idol: Harry Connick Jr was the mentor and the category was Sinatra songs. Lee Dewyze said, “This week I’m singing “That’s Life”. Harry said about Lee, “I like him a lot, and my wife thinks he’s really cute. It sounded awesome.” Lee had a swagger and a confidence we haven’t seen before, his personality shined and his smile was there but not like Tim Urban, where it didn’t stop.
Ellen said, “At first I was distracted by his Harry’s organ, and then he walked around like it was different than the piano. I think if tonight was the last night of performances you would have just won this whole thing.”
5/11/2010 Top 4: Tonight on American Idol, Lee sang, ‘Kiss from the Rose’. He said, “Jaime Foxx got in my face and had me sing it, and that was uncomfortable at first.” Jamie said, “I did that to Danny Gokey last year .I told him if you can’t do that, you can’t perform in front of all those people.” Of Lee, Jaime said, “He has to find a way to get into himself and perform.” Lee sang off key and still smiled at the camera, and I must say, he looked cuter than he has ever. His singing wasn’t that great but he is coming into his own; he did well with the audience and camera connection.
Kara said, “Lee you had a great week last week; this is one of the most difficult songs to sing. It’s up and down and all over in your register. With the arrangement, you had some out of tune issues but we can’t take away from the fact that you are still great.”
Top 3: Lee is going to do Lynyrd Skynard tonight. Ryan said to Lee, “We’ve heard you have become a different guy since you went home.” Lee said, “I kind of went home with expectations, and it was more than I ever could hope for. It’s crazy and it is awesome. Simple Man” is one of those songs that I have always loved. I always want to pick something that I can understand; I think it is easier to perform.”
Lee started out playing acoustic without the band, and built up the dynamics and when the band came in, it was perfect. The rhythm was simple, and the confidence Lee exuded was pleasing to the eye, not cocky, but he looked like he was happy to be there, performing for a crowd that loves him. The blow up’s on the big TV screen behind him made him look big – almost like a star we might see on the Grammy’s. Ellen Said, “That’s what we’re talking about, you took this thing seriously. At first, you were a little lamb and now you are a jaguar or impala or something sleek.”
Top 2: For his finale performances Lee did three songs. The first was Boxer, the second was Everybody Hurts, and the last song, and Beautiful Day, from U2.
Boxer was a good choice, and it showed Lee being strong with his stage presence and annunication and phrasing, but it was not upbeat compared to Crystal’s song choices. When Lee sang Everybody Hurts, he did a better job, but again, it was missing a star moment. For his final choice, he did Beautiful Day and I thought it was totally the wrong song choice.
He should have listened to what Kara said last week to Casey James, know your audience. If he had performed Beast of Burden, Treat Her Like a Lady or That’s Life, and having a star moment would have equaled an easy win. Unfortunately, his future as # 1 looks dim.
Ellen said, “How do you feel right now?” Lee said, “I love this, I’m happy.” Ellen then replied, “Watching the process and seeing how you have changed, you were fully present, taking in every one’s energy. I’m proud of you, you did a great job.”
Kara said, “I think you got swallowed up in that song, you had good moments and not so good moments. But you have grown the most on this show, you deserve to be here tonight.”
Simon said,” Lee I think you made the most of it. This is my final time ever judging on this show. This was what this competition was designed for. A paint salesman to now. You have worked very hard and remained a really nice person throughout. I genuinely wish the best for you.”
From paint salesman to International rock star playing weekly for a crowd of millions and millions of fans, Lee has certainly been mixing things up for a while. Looking back, he had consistency. He was shy, he was humble, and he seemed to be continously amazed at his advancement in the contest. Everyone tried to re-assure him that he had it.
In reality, Lee made it.
Fox Television, American Idol 5/25/2010