SUNRISE, FL (WFLX) - Lee DeWyze remembers the moments right before he won season nine of American Idol.
"Everyone was like, 'You looked so shocked', but what was really going on in my head was, 'Just say anything'. I didn't care if it was Crystal or me. I was like, 'Dude [Ryan Seacrest], you're killing me right now.'"
From auditioning in Chicago, to winning American Idol, to the Idols Live tour, life hasn't slowed down for DeWyze, but he doesn't mind the fatigue. "People work 60 times harder than what I'm working right now at things they don't love to do, so for me, to do what I love to do is an amazing blessing."
DeWyze made it on the show just in time to learn from the outspoken, now retired, Idol judge.
"Who's going to be the next Simon?" Rachel Leigh asked.
"Nobody. If you think you're going to find someone who did what he did, it's a waste of time," he responded.
But no matter who takes Simon's seat, most finalists found they did best when the stopped dreading the judges' feedback. "At first, I was worrying about the judges and what they were going to say," said finalist Andrew Garcia.
"So, now, when you go out on tour, you don't have to worry about the judges. Is the pressure off or is it a new kind of pressure?" asked Rachel.
"Pressure is way off. I'm out there having fun," Garcia said. "You're going to love it [the show]".
Another finalists on the road, Michael Lynche, better known as Big Mike for good reason, made the decision to continue his Idol quest right before the birth of his baby girl.
"There's certain sacrifices a man has to make for the betterment of his family. I didn't want that to be one of my sacrifices, but we'll see how it all works out," said Lynche.
The Idols Live Tour wraps up at the end of the month, and then, they'll all be busy working on their upcoming albums.