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VIDEO: Crystal Bowersox Shines On First Night Of American Idol Finale

Just when Lee DeWyze thought he had the American Idol title locked thanks to a string of recent standout performances, Crystal Bowersox took him to the mat, owning Tuesday night’s finals show. Each of her three performances trumped DeWyze’s, leaving the Idol audience wondering who will be crowned victor during eliminations on Wednesday.

EXCLUSIVE: Crystal Bowersox “Determined” To Win American Idol

Bowersox stormed onto the stage reprising her favorite song, ‘Me and Bobby Mcgee,’ sounding like a perfect mash-up between popstar Pink and her own idol, Melissa Etheridge. On her second number, ‘Black Velvet,’ the dreadlocked folk star exposed herself without a trusty guitar, showcasing the simple fullness of her soulful voice.  “Mama Sox is in it to win it,” screamed Randy.

And win it she did. Her final number ‘Up To The Mountain‘ exploded and still managed to remain somber, exhibiting her versatility and presence onstage. In his last judgement on American Idol, Simon Cowell had little to say. He simply called Bowersox “outstanding,” and, well, that might have said it all.

PHOTOS: American Idol’s Most Memorable Contestants

Only last week, the judges fawned over DeWyze after he gave a chilling performance of ‘Halleleujah’ – a knockout hit that judge Randy Jackson called “the biggest moment” of the twenty-four year old’s career. But during finals night, all went downhill as DeWyze seemed nervous and overwhelmed from the outset.

VIDEO: Lee DeWyze Delivers A Knockout American Idol Performance

Following his slow rendition of ‘The Boxer,’ judge Kara DioGuardi cautioned the singer that he would need to “punch harder” if he planned to win the competition. But the message didn’t sink in and DeWyze missed the mark (or the melody) on his second performance singing R.E.M’s ‘Everybody Hurts.‘  The Illinois rocker rounded out the night with U2’s ‘Beautiful Day’ and almost immediately got swallowed alive by the song’s soaring vocals. Judge Simon Cowell opted not to give a critique, saying: “the competition was designed for someone who needs a break. I genuinely wish the best for you.” It was an acknowledgment that while DeWyze could use a win, he didn’t quite deserve one.

Watch a special 2-hour American Idol on Fox on Wednesday at 8pm ET to say goodbye to Cowell and see who wins the Season 9 title

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