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'Idolatry': Lee DeWyze on 'pitchy' singing, 'confidence' critiques, and his alternate 'Beautiful Day'

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Lee DeWyze may describe himself as a simple kind of man, but he was also a guy with a strategy that took him all the way to the American Idol season 9 title. Step one: Avoid drama during Hollywood Week (as if he would’ve played it any other way). Step two: Front-load with current tunes in the semifinals. Step three: Don’t get bogged down obsessing over the judges’ critiques. Lee stopped by Amalia lounge in New York City to dish his winning Idol run, tackling criticism that some of his performances were “pitchy,” explaining his surprised initial reaction to Simon Cowell’s “judge’s choice”-round selection of “Hallelujah,” and describing which current artists might potentially shape the sound of his major-label debut disc. He also touched on how he came to have a moment during R&B Week, what he thought of the “paint salesman” label the show’s producers relentlessly foisted on him, and why he didn’t use his own acoustic arrangement of “Beautiful Day” during the Idol finale. Press play below for the whole five-part shebang, and to get alerted to all my Idol news and commentary (including an upcoming video Q&A with runner-up Crystal Bowersox) follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak. If you’re having trouble watching the videos here, or if you’re on an iPhone/iPad, head over to the Idolatry hub for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

[Related: Lee DeWyze on ‘Today’: Did acoustic ‘B’ful Day’ erase memories of hinky ‘American Idol’ rendition?; ‘American Idol’: Bret Michaels as Simon Cowell’s replacement? How about a mentor gig instead?; 18 ‘Idol’ Theme Nights We’d Love to See; ‘American Idol’ finale recap: Nice Guys Finish First]