Los Angeles, California (CNN) -- Lee DeWyze, a paint salesman from Chicago, Illinois, was announced the winner of Fox's "American Idol" on Wednesday night, edging out fellow 24-year-old Crystal Bowersox, a mother from Elliston, Ohio, affectionately known as "MamaSox" to her fans.a
After host Ryan Seacrest revealed him as the winner, an emotional DeWyze performed his rendition of U2's "Beautiful Day" while sparklers and confetti rained down from the rafters at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.
The finale also marked the end of Simon Cowell's nine-season run on the show as the often-critical and sometimes foul-tempered head judge many contestants both feared and respected.
Former "Idol" judge Paula Abdul returned to the show to participate in the tribute to Cowell, along with many former winners, including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Ruben Studdard and Fantasia Barrino.
The night also featured performances from Janet Jackson, Alanis Morrisette, Joe Cocker and Christina Aguilera.
Cowell will be bringing his popular U.K. talent show, "The X Factor," to the United States in fall 2011, according to Fox.