Sunday, January 15, 2012

#62 Crystal Bowersox

Next on my American Idol finalist countdown is my number 62 American Idol finalist Crystal Bowersox. She is the runner-up of American Idol season 9. She appeared on a commercial with blues legend B.B. King. Her debut album, Farmer's Daughter, was published on December 14, 2010, on the now defunct Jive Records label. Like Elliott Yamin, she has type-1 diabetes.

Crystal Lynn Bowersox was born alongside her twin brother Carl on August 4, 1985, in Elliston, Ohio. She attended Oak Harbor High School in Oak Harbor, Ohio, and later attended Toledo School for the Arts in Toledo, Ohio. Bowersox performed her first professional gig at the age of 10. She appeared at local bars in Toledo, most popularly Papa's Tavern, and The Village Idiot in Maumee, Ohio. At the age of 17, she relocated to Chicago, Illinois. looking for opportunity. She most commonly played as a busker at several train stations, including the Washington and Lake Redline stops. She frequented open mics, such as the Uncommon Ground Clark and Grace, and Devon locations. She also played extensively in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. In 2006, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs chose Bowersox to represent Chicago folk musicians in the Sister Cities program "Experience Chicago", held in Birmingham, England. In 2007, Bowersox traveled internationally on an independent small cafe tour, including Memphis, Tennessee; Oaxaca, Mexico; and Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey.

Bowersox auditioned for American Idol season 9 in Chicago, Illinois. She performed "Piece of My Heart" by Erma Franklin. Guest judge Shania Twain commented that she had a "raw, natural talent", as Simon Cowell commented on my number 1 American Idol finalist back in season 8. During the first Hollywood Round, Bowersox performed "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" by Aretha Franklin. During the second Hollywood Round, which is Group Round, her group performed "Get Ready" by The Temptations. During the third Hollywood Round, she performed "If It Makes You Happy" by Sheryl Crow. During top 24 week, she performed "Hand in My Pocket" by Alanis Morissette, who would perform with Josh Krajcik during the X Factor season 1 final week. On March 2, 2010, during top 20 week, Bowersox was hospitalized because of complications from diabetes, forcing a last minute switch in scheduling to give her extra time to recuperate. The male contestants competed that day instead of the female contestants. The next day, she performed "Long as I Can See the Light" by Credence Clearwater Revival and impressed all of the judges. Bowersox confirmed the illness on the May 19, 2010 results show during an interview with host Ryan Seacrest. The following week, her strong performance of "Give Me One Reason" by Tracy Chapman prompted Simon Cowell to state, "Right now, you are the one everyone has to beat."

During top 12 week, Bowersox performed "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by The Rolling Stones. During top 11 week, she performed "Me and Bobby McGee" by Roger Miller. During top 10 week, she performed "Midnight Train to Georgia", which was originally recorded by Cissy Houston and made popular by Gladys Knight & the Pips. During top 9A week, she performed "Come Together", which was originally recorded by The Beatles and later covered by the late Michael Jackson. During top 9B week, she performed "Saved" by LaVern Baker. During top 7 week, she performed "People Get Ready" by The Impressions. During top 6 week, she performed "No One Needs to Know" by Shania Twain. After Siobhan Magnus got eliminated that week, Bowersox became the last girl standing in the competition. During top 5 week, Bowersox performed "Summer Wind", which was originally recorded by Frank Newton and made popular by Frank Sinatra. During top 4 week, she performed "Falling Slowly" by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová from the 2006 Irish musical film Once as a duet with Lee DeWyze and then performed "I'm Alright" by Kenny Loggins from the 1980 American comedy film Candyshack solo. During top 3 week, she performed "Come to My Window" by Melissa Etheridge as chosen by herself and "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul McCartney as chosen by the judges.

Bowersox is the first female contestant to make it to the finale since Jordin Sparks won the American Idol crown in 2007. She is also the first contestant in American Idol history to have one of their original songs played on the show, or at least during their hometown package. During finale week, she did an encore of her top 11 performance and then performed "Black Velvet" by Alannah Myles as chosen by Simon Fuller, and finally her first single "Up to the Mountain", which was originally recorded by Solomon Burke. During her time on American Idol, Bowersox dated Tony Kusian, but the couple broke up just hours before the finale of American Idol season 9. On the final performance day, in Simon Cowell's final critique on American Idol, he called her performance of "Up to the Mountain" "outstanding" and by far, "the best performance and song of the night".

On May 26, Bowersox was named the runner-up to winner Lee DeWyze, the least successful winner in American Idol history. She recently announced that after her time on American Idol, she wants to bring more diabetes awareness.

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