‘Idol’s Crystal Bowersox: ‘I Knew Lee Was Going to Win’

by | May 29, 2010 at 8:51 AM | American Idol, Eye on Idol, Interviews, RealityTV, TV News

Crystal Bowersox on Idol's Finale (FOX)

Crystal Bowersox on Idol's Finale (FOX)

American Idol‘ runner-up Crystal Bowersox took some time to talk with reporters Friday about her experience on the show, and was asked a broad spectrum of questions, including her recent breakup, the inevitable question of whether she and Lee could become an item, and how she battled through her diabetes and what she plans to do to advocate for diabetes awareness.

I also asked her about her attitude toward the show and how it changed over the course of the season, and I gave her a chance to respond to the report from several weeks ago that she was ready to quit ‘Idol’ and was talked into staying by host Ryan Seacrest, and she took the opportunity to explain what the situation was at the time and why she’s glad she stayed.

Check it out:

On her duet with Alanis Morissette…
I thought Alanis was amazing. She’s a kind, gentle spirit and we didn’t really talk very much. It was more quick hellos and a hug, it was just really genuine and performing is where we really communicated.

On whether she could embrace harder-edge material like “You Oughtta Know”…
My music is pretty versatile, I’ve got songs in a lot of different genres and styles and I really don’t feel like I should be pigeon-holed into any one thing. So we’ll see where my career develops and where I’m going to go.

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On the abrupt breakup just hours before Tuesday night’s performance show…
Tony’s been my rock through all of this, he’s been there for me and he’s been amazing and I’ve got a great amount of respect and love for him. It was a mutual thing, you know, he’s a small-town guy and wants a simple, quiet life and I respect that of him. This is my career and this is what I’ve strived for my whole life and I want to do best for my son. We’re going to be OK, we’re going to be friends for a long time.

On whether she’s also enjoy a small-town, quiet life if she hadn’t done ‘Idol’…
Oh, of course. But I love music and I want to do good things for the world and my family and community, so I’m loving every minute of it.

On whether she had any idea what kind of effect being on “Idol” might have for her personal life…
Yeah, I’m a pretty smart girl and I knew what I was signing up for — at least I had a good idea, anyway, you never really fully comprehend the situation until you’re in it and out of it. So, I’m rolling with the punches. That’s what I’ve done with everything in my life and just go forward and do what feels right and what makes me happy.

On whether she and Lee would date…
Oh, no, that wouldn’t happen. Lee’s like a brother to me. I love him dearly, but not that way.

On whether she thinks her new fame might make it difficult to meet someone…
I don’t feel that way at all. I surround myself in good people and people I trust wholeheartedly. I feel like I’ve got a really good circle of friends and support. I need really good friends right now and I’m focused on my son and my career and we’re going to be OK. And Tony’s a great guy. I’m not worried about that right now.

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On whether her son understands the magnitude of what’s going on and how she’s balanced being a mother throughout the experience…
I’ve handled it very well and I’m sure he doesn’t grasp it. He’s 16 months and his favorite word is “awesome” right now. So, you know, he’s having a good time, he’s well taken care of and he’s just a happy little guy. I balance it the same way any mother does. You greet each day with love and joy because you have a child in your life. You wake up and you care of them, go to work and and come back home at the end of they day, and that’s what any mom would do.

On the sound of her CD…
My influences are pretty straight-forward, but I definitely have my own sound and style. It might be a familiar sound, but at the same time my songwriting is — I don’t know how different it is — but it’s simple songs that people can relate to and enjoy and hopefully learn something from my experience.

On early predictions that it was going to be a girl’s season, and whether gender plays a factor in the voting…
I don’t feel that way. I think that ‘American Idol’ is a competition in a certain way that it really is up to the voting public. Any predictions made at the beginning of the season for a female winner, it’s just not possible to know. When I became the last woman standing, I knew it would be possible, but it wasn’t guaranteed. And Lee, I love Lee. He is super-talented and I would buy his album in a heart beat. Whatever happened happened for a reason and I’m extremely proud of him and happy for him.

On her original song, “Holy Toledo,” and what it meant to her to have it played on the show…
That song is very dear to my heart. I wrote it right before I moved to Chicago. I was 17 and sitting on a friend’s front porch, and just at a point in my life where I loved my hometown, but I always knew there was something bigger out there — hence the line, “How do I get to heaven from here?”. And since the show, it’s become an anthem for my city and what kind of hope is needed there. And I’m so blessed and honored that the show even considered letting me play it in my hometown and using it on the show, and I will be allowed to play that on tour, actually, in my hometown and they’re going to allow me to do some other original music in Toledo, so I’m very excited about that.

On her feeling this week that it might not go her way…
I woke up on Wednesday morning and I had breakfast with my son, it was a calm morning like any other, and I just had an overwhelming sense of peace and acceptance. And some strange feeling inside of me, I just knew Lee was going to win. Something in me knew Lee was going to win, which is fine. He’s worked hard and no matter what the outcome of this, there’s no winner or loser, we’re both going to have successful careers, and I couldn’t be prouder of him.

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On how she felt as Ryan Seacrest dragged out the results on Wednesday night…
I think if you watch the video back, I had mouthed the words, “C’mon, Ryan” several times. It’s frustrating when he does it, but he’s a very smart man and he knows what’s good for TV and making our hearts beat out of our chest. But, you know, I wanted to know for sure, I wanted to know if my feeling was right, and I wanted to celebrate for Lee. And when I saw Lee’s face and he was about ready to pass out, I just felt everything he was feeling. We’ve been together through this whole process and understand each other completely and how much we’ve worked for it, and I looked up at his confetti falling down and I thought, “This is my confetti, I’ve won vicariously through Lee because I could empathize so much.

On how her experience on the show changed or effected the type of music she hopes to create…
I’ve known who I am as an artist and as a human being for a very long time, I’ve been comfortable in my skin since I can remember. “Idol” has really shown me what I’m capable of. I’m not sure there’s going to be group numbers and dancers in my career after “Idol,” but the fact that I made it through all of that and I did a great job, I feel like I can go any direction I want. “Idol” taught me a lot and I’m forever grateful to them.

On the strangest gig she’s ever played…
The strangest gig I ever performed was a skydiver’s wake. It wasn’t the funeral, but it was a wake. A group of people in Ohio that were just celebrating the life of a friend. They just had a big party out in an open field near an airport. I could’ve chosen to take the money or take half of the money and go skydiving. And I didn’t necessarily want to go skydiving, but I knew I’d never do it myself, so I did it and it was the best experience of my life.

On being an inspiration for young people with diabetes and how she managed hers…
This is probably my favorite question. Before Idol I found myself in certain situations and I never had a lot of money and things growing up. You know, good medical care takes money, sadly. There have been times in my life that I’ve had to beg for insulin, and I understand that side of things. So, having tried out for Idol I kind of kept my diabetes a secret from them. I played it down as not a big deal and I think every diabetic goes through that denial process. Once I got sick back in March, a team of people formed in to help me and I’ve never felt so loved in my life, and I just realized that through this show I had a platform to be a role model for kids and for advocacy and to help out the diabetic community around the country and the world. So that’s the main focus of my career after “Idol.” I definitely want to do good things.

On whether she felt like the front-runner over the course of the season…
No, I was just happy to get past the stadium and the next week and the next week. You never know what’s going to happen in a competition like this, it’s really up to the voting public. So my approach through the whole thing was to remain true to who I am as a person and an artist and give my best performance each week. And whatever the outcome was, I was prepared to accept and embrace and move forward in my career. So, coming in second is an amazing feat in itself and this whole thing has just been an amazing journey.

On whet she thought of fellow diabetic Bret Michaels performing Wednesday night…
I didn’t actually get to meet Bret Michaels and I didn’t get to watch the performance, but I didn’t know that Bret Michaels was a Type I diabetic until Wednesday. But I think it’s great, after everything he’s been through recently, to get out there and perform and just embrace it. I know he does a lot of great things for JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) now and I respect that and I’d love to work together with him in the future in diabetic advocacy.

On whether she has an idea of who should replace Simon…
Simon is such an epic figure in the show, “replace” is not a good word for me. I think Simon is irreplaceable in the sense that he’s Simon. He’s just such a figure. But whoever takes his position is going to do a great job and bring something new to the show, and I think it’ll keep things interesting and best of luck to whoever gets the spot and to Simon.

On producer and director Adam Shankman saying he’d like to see her and Lee to try out for the “Rock of Ages” movie…
I’d have to look into the project. It’s an acting thing, right? I would love to. Drama was my first love before music when I was young and I’m open to it. I’d have to do a little research and shake some hands and talk to some people, but I’m definitely open to something like that.

On how her attitude about the show changed from start to finish…
For years people had approach me at my shows in Ohio and Chicago, saying you should try out for “Idol.” And, you know, I never really thought about it too much just because I didn’t feel like I could be that kind of contestant. So, you know, when I had my son, I was completely ready and needed to make a change and I decided to do it and I don’t regret it at all. I had an amazing time — the staff the crew — just everything that goes into the show, there’s so much behind the scenes that people don’t get enough credit for, and I love everyone there. It’s been an amazing trip and it’s taught me a lot about myself and showed me how strong I can actually be.

On whether she was really about to quit and Ryan Seacrest talked her into staying…
I feel like I’ve addressed this before. Ryan and I had a simple conversation as he was leaving out the back door for the day, I just happened to be standing there as he was walking out. And he gave me some quick, good advice, and it was amazing. Ryan’s a good spirit. He’s a good man, he’s a hard worker and I respect him for it. I never really had a true intention of quitting. It’s a hard process, people don’t realize how grueling the show is, and the emotional and physical toll it takes on you. And, you know, you have moments of, not necessarily doubt, but you get tired, and I missed my son and I just had a nice conversation with Ryan and he was very helpful and I highly respect him.

On people thinking she didn’t really care about winning…
No, I wouldn’t say that’s correct. I wouldn’t have tried out for the show if I didn’t think I had a shot at winning. It was an idea in my head, but people might interpret that wrong when I said that no matter what happened it was OK. I definitely had a desire to win, but in any aspect of my life, I’m not going to be let down by something because I believe truly that everything happens for a reason and I accept that and move on. And one door closing is a window opening.