American Music Awards

Lee DeWyze, "Beautiful Day"

3.5

After defeating Crystal Bowersox for the "American Idol" season-nine crown, Lee DeWyze has offered a soaring take on U2's "Beautiful Day" as his debut single. As the first "Idol" winner to use a cover song as his introduction to the pop charts, DeWyze showcases his vocal range while sticking to a decisive alt-rock aesthetic. The track changes very little musically from the original version, placing the focus on DeWyze's emotive reimagining of Bono's lead vocals. The singer's country-tinged croon takes flight during the anthemic chorus, but DeWyze really dazzles during the simmering verses, where he lingers on each syllable and creates a restrained sense of longing. Although "Beautiful Day" doesn't offer any insight into DeWyze's ability to sell an original melody, the track is the fittingly triumphant sound of a victory lap. -Jason Lipshutz