Lee DeWyze, the shy 24-year-old paint sales clerk from Mount Prospect, Ill., who was named American Idol champ Wednesday, tells UsMagazine.com he still can't fathom beating single mother Crystal Bowersox, season 9's judges' fave.
Winning Wednesday was utter "disbelief," he told Us after the show. "It was just a weight lifted off my shoulders, like I did the right things, I made the right decision. I couldn’t be happier with the way things went. I can’t wait to make an album! Thank you to the fans, thank you to my family, my friends, the staff ... there are so many people to thank, it’s just been an amazing experience ... I’ve loved every second."
Bowersox, 24, whom critics thought performed stronger on Tuesday night, told Us she wasn't surprised she didn't win.
"It’s just a thing that I felt and I knew, and I'm fine with that," she told Us. "I said before the show to Lee that I just had had this strange sense of peace and calm ... I was ready and happy for whatever the outcome was. We both win. There are no losers. Both of us are going to have very successful careers and we're going to be friends for a long time ... I’m so happy for him. He's a cutie patootie. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy."
Said DeWyze, "I wish the best for her whatever she does. She’s a really cool person. She deserves it as much as I do, so you know it’s just been amazing."
His first post-Idol celebration?
"Take my family on vacation!" he told Us. "I don’t know yet, but we’re going to go somewhere awesome."