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 all returned as judges, and Ellen DeGeneres replaced Paula Abdul as the fourth judge. 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. Judges Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi, and Ellen 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 season 6 where a female made it to the finale and was also the first time since season 7 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.
Eight contestants from this season were signed to record labels. The signed artists are Lee DeWyze, Crystal Bowersox, Casey James, Michael Lynche, Siobhan Magnus, Tim Urban, Didi Benami, and Lacey Brown.