Lee DeWyze

While he may have been assailed as a play-it-safe type, Lee DeWyze went on to be crowned American Idol's Season 9 winner. Backstage after the finale, DeWyze shared his five techniques to make it through the competition:

American Idol finale: And the winner is...

1. Believe in yourself. "I think you try out and audition with the intention of winning," DeWyze said. "If you don't think you can win, then there's no reason to go audition because you have to believe in yourself."

2. Respect your competitors. "[Crystal Bowersox] is amazing and I love her to death. I wish the best for her and I think she's going to be successful. I know she supports me in what I'm doing, and it's been good for everybody." 

3. Don't look back. "There were points in the competition where I said, 'Oh man, I wish I would've done that better,' but I've learned that once something is done, it's done. The best thing you can do is go to the next step and try to do better."

Read our recap of the American Idol finale

4. Don't let the judges get you down. "[The judges are] going to say what they're going to say, and regardless of what they say, as long as you go out there and try your hardest, you can't really walk away with regrets. Anybody can go back with anything they do in their life and nitpick things, but for me, I love the songs I sang and I'm happy I did it."

5. Plan ahead. Now that DeWyze has won, he plans "to make an album and go on tour," he says. "I don't want to be the next big thing and then be gone. I want to do this for a long time. I want to stay true to myself and make good music."