By Daily Mail Reporter
Tonight's the night: Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox arriveat the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles to compete in the final of American Idol
From the 100,000 hopefuls who first auditioned American Idol is down to just two contestants - Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze.
Tonight will see one of them crowned the winner of the ninth season of America's top rated show, joining past Idols such as Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.
The two-hour finale is expected to include an emotional send-off for Simon Cowell, who announced in January he was leaving to launch a U.S. version of The X Factor on Fox next year.
SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH THE FINALISTS' VERSIONS OF THE WINNER'S SINGLE...
Last night the final pair each performed three songs, including their version of the winner's single.
In a major departure from past series the first release will depend on the winner - Beautiful Day for Lee and Up To The Mountain for Crystal.
The nail-biting show saw dreadlocked Ohio single mother Crystal emerge as the clear judges' favourite for the 2010 title after her three-song set.
Who will triumph? Either Lee DeWyze, left, or Crystal Bowersox will be announced as the winner of the ninth series of American Idol tonight
Finalist: From 100,000 hopefuls, either Crystal or Lee will be crowned American Idol
The 24-year-old's energy had been lacking in recent weeks, but she made a storming come-back, while Lee appeared to have lost some of the confidence that had seen him emerge as the competition's dark horse.
'This is one of your best moments, at a perfect time' judge Randy Jackson told Crystal after she closed the show with an emotional rendition of the contemporary folk-gospel song Up To The Mountain.
'You took that song and you absolutely nailed it,' the usually abrasive Simon Cowell told her after her version of 1990s rock classic Black Velvet.
Final show: Simon Cowell is leaving American Idol, to launch the X Factor in the U.S. next year
Lee had been tipped by Cowell to win before Tuesday's final performances in front of 7,000 fans.
But the bluesy singer and guitarist, who a year ago was working in a Chicago paint store, seemed to have lost some of the confidence that saw him overshadow Bowersox last week.
'I would expect a lot more passion and excitement. That was a kiss on the cheek, when I want a kiss on the lips,' Cowell said of Lee's first effort, The Boxer.
The night didn't improve for the 24-year-old.
Kara DioGuardi felt he got 'swallowed up a bit' by U2's smash hit Beautiful Day.
Singing their hearts out: Last night's show was the final opportunity for Crystal and Lee to impress
Crystal plays guitar, piano and harmonica and was the early front-runner for the 2010 title and a guaranteed recording contract.
But in recent weeks, judges and fans doubted how much she wanted the media attention and pressure that comes with being crowned American Idol.
America's choice will be revealed tonight after millions of text and telephone votes from around the nation have been counted.
American Idol is still America's most watched TV show but has seen audiences slip by about 9 per cent this year.
In recent weeks, less than 20million viewers have been tuning in as the contest neared its climax, compared with almost 30million in 2006.
With Cowell's departure, commentators have suggested ratings will continue to fall.
Comeback kid: All three judges gave early favourite Crystal their backing, after she regained her confidence
Host Ryan Seacrest, who appeared to have a testy relationship on-air with Cowell this season, had only warm words for him last night.
'We really are going to miss you. You are a dear friend and we wouldn't be here without you,' he said.
The X Factor is currently shown in 17 countries worldwide with a global audience of more than 500million.
The format for the show is owned by Syco, the music, television and film production joint venture between Cowell and Sony Music Entertainment.
On the U.S. version, Cowell will serve as both a judge and an executive producer.
Cowell's replacement on American Idol has not yet been announced