After a two-hour "American Idol" finale that seemed more concerned with the franchise's loss of judge Simon Cowell than crowning a winner, it was eventually mentioned that Lee DeWyze, a 24-year-old paint-store clerk from Mount Prospect, IL, had triumphed over Crystal Bowersox, a Janis-Joplinesque folky and presumptive winner. The burning question: Can DeWyze overcome a "sleepy season" and carve out a musical career for himself? (Watch Lee DeWyze perform on the "Idol" finale)

DeWyze has a tough road ahead: The crown "doesn't carry the same weight it once did," says Simon Vozick-Levinson in Entertainment Weekly. Look at last year's underwhelming winner, Kris Allen, still "fighting to stay on the public’s mind." DeWyze's best chance is stay true to his own sound and book time with "a serious producer who shares his love of roots and folk-rock — someone like T Bone Burnett."
"Lee DeWyze's post-Idol career: Will he be a Kelly Clarkson or a Taylor Hicks?"

America's picked another depressingly safe choice: DeWyze is sweet but forgettable, says Shalley Fralic in the Vancouver Sun. A year after the far more gifted Adam Lambert lost to Kris Allen, America has picked another Idol whose "stage presence is charming but shaky, full of promise but not much it because Bowersox is a dreadlocked new-age hippie and DeWyze is so not?"
"Lee DeWyze: It's Kris Allen all over again!"

DeWyze is the biggest lemon in a season of lemons: Congratulations, America, says Jacob in Television Without Pity on an "amateurish" choice. At least fans found "a way to break convention, after nine seasons, by rewarding someone specifically and explicitly for their mediocrity."
"'American Idol': The Finale"