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It was a slow, but steady rise to the top for Lee DeWyze.

But it all paid off tonight, as the laid back rocker with the sexy, scratchy voice was crowned season nine champion on American Idol!

DeWyze peaked at the ideal time, bringing the crowd and judges to their feet with his recent rendition of “Hallelujah” last week. He then carried that momentum into the finale and defeated a worthy competitor, Crystal Bowersox.

A choked-up DeWyze accepted Ryan Seacrest’s congratulations after the announcement and proceeded to sing his cover of “Beautiful Day,” which will soon hit radio stations around the country.

Relive Lee’s Idol journey below…

Did Lee deserve to win?