When Lee Dewyze came out and sang “Hallelujah” on American Idol on Tuesday night, the crowd went wild. The judges also loved the song and suddenly Crystal Bowersox no longer seemed to be the sure thing that so many had predicted would win. But there could have been several factors that helped Lee grab the lion’s share of attention on Tuesday. Will these factors be enough to place Dewyze in the American Idol winner’s circle?
When Simon Cowell Picked Lee DeWyze’s Song, “Hallelujah”, Did That Give Lee an American Idol Edge?
Never underestimate Simon Cowell’s influence. On Tuesday night, both Ellen DeGeneres and Randy Jackson credited him with choosing the right song for Lee DeWyze. It has been sung by Jason Castro and others to try to boost ratings – and votes – for performers on the show.
What better forum than American Idol to help grab that attention? That song has been performed by so many American Idol contestants that it has almost become routine and is in danger of being using as a gimmick to boost a performer’s popularity on the show. But the formula may still work.
Simon Knows Which American Idol Songs Can Showcase or Downplay a Singer’s Talents
In all fairness, Lee had to sing the song well enough to get praise and perhaps sway the public’s votes. But he was a different Lee than the guy whose nerves got the best of him so many times before. This time he looked directly into the camera, with no visible lack of confidence. He showed his range, and he didn’t play it safe, reaching for some notes.
But was his shift from nervousness to composure just an accident? He had time to practice and get coached to help show off his vocal abilities. It appeared that he made the most of that time.
Can American Idol Winners’ Odds be Influenced by Background Singers and Staging?
This season – and last- Simon Cowell and others had noted that they weren’t crazy about background singers or other accompaniments during performances. But Lee DeWyze’s performance of “Hallelujah” had a powerful chorus of singers to lend drama and appeal to his already strong singing. Crystal Bowersox didn’t have that advantage nor did she have the most dramatic staging.
In contrast, Lee had background singers in black robes who walked slowly toward him as he stood, center stage, with white light adding even more impact to the whole effect. It seemed guaranteed to rouse viewers’ emotions. Would DeWyze have done well without all the extra bells and whistles? Maybe so, but they didn’t hurt anything.
Did Lee DeWyze Shine More Because the Other Contestants had Weaker Song Choices?
Who knows what would have happened if Cystal Bowersox and Casey Jame had better song choices? They did their best, but I doubt that Bowersox would have chosen “Maybe I’m Amazed” as a song in her comfort zone. Casey James did well when singing “Daughters,” but Lee Dewyze simply blew him out of the water, especially when the judges’ comments came into play, which brings up the point that….
Judges’ Comments and Audience Reaction Could Sway American Idol Winners’ Odds
The judges considered DeWyze’s performance the standout of the night. The audience went wild. DeWyze actually thanked Simon for the song choice. Simon gave a quick wink to DeWyze and noted that the performance made him proud of Lee. Everyone seemed to want to hear Simon’s opinion and – along with the other judges – that could definitely help Dewyze be in prime position to win this season’s American Idol.
Oh, and about that simple man stance? His paint salesman background is being mentioned front and center but what about his albums? One of them, Slumberland is an apt title for an album that didn’t do too well when released in 2009 but is now flying off the shelves (if you can find it). He also had another album, So I’m Told, released in 2007, according to MTV News .
American Idol, personal observation
Lee DeWyze’s Early Albums: A Boy and His Guitar Grow up, MTV, May 18: here