American Idol - Season 9
The ninth season of American Idol premiered on January 12, 2010 and concluded on May 26, 2010 on Fox. Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi returned to the judging panel. Ellen DeGeneres joined the panel as a replacement for Paula Abdul after guest judges filled in during the auditions. Idol Gives Back also returned for the season and was held on April 21, 2010, during the top seven results show. The top 24 semi-finals format used in the fourth through seventh seasons also returned this season. Cowell, DioGuardi and DeGeneres all left the show after this season ended, although only Cowell's departure was announced in advance. This was the second season where neither of the final 2 contestants had been in the bottom 2 or 3 prior to the finale, with the first being the seventh season. This was also the third consecutive season a male contestant had won, the longest streak for either gender. It was the first season since sixth season where a female made it to the finale and was also the first time since season seven that both the finalists released a different song as a debut single. Lee DeWyze, a folk rocker from Mount Prospect, Illinois won the competition, beating the runner-up Crystal Bowersox.
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