Sunday, June 6, 2010

Crystal Bowersox's American Idol exit interview

Crystal Bowersox had her exit interview conference call with the nation’s media, discussing a wide variety of topics including breaking up with her boyfriend, Simon, her music, coming in second on American Idol and the strangest music gig she has ever had.
Crystal Bowersox

Following is the entire interview:

What was your impression of Alanis Morissette? And would you embrace harder-edged material like “You Oughta Know” for your first CD?

CB: “I thought Alanis was amazing. She is a kind, gentle spirit and we really didn’t talk very much. It was more like quick hellos and a hug, it was very genuine. Performing is really where we communicated. My music is pretty versatile. I got songs in a lot of different genres and styles. I really don’t feel I should be pigeonholed in any one thing. We’ll see as my career develops where I’m going to go.”

Were you surprised with the split with your boyfriend the day of the finals? Will it affect you going forward?

CB: “Tony’s been my rock through all this. He’s been amazing. I’ve got a great amount of respect and love for him. It was a mutual thing. He a small-town guy and wants a simple quiet life and I respect that. This is my career, 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.”

Would you enjoy living in a small town if you weren’t doing music?

CB: “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 this.”

Did you have any idea what affect trying out for Idol would have on your life?

CB: “Yeah. I’m a pretty smart girl, 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. 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.”

Do you think all the publicity you’ve had will make it difficult in the future to meet someone?

CB: “No. I don’t feel that way at all. I surround myself with 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. I’m focused on my son and my career.”

Does your son understand the magnitude of everything that’s going on? How have you handled being a mom through the process?

CB: “I’ve handled it very well. I’m sure he doesn’t grasp it. He’s 16 months. His favorite word is ‘Awesome’ right now. He’s having a good time, he’s well taken care of. He’s just a happy little guy. I balance it the same way any other mother does. I greet each day with love and joy because you have your child in your life. You wake up, take care of him, go to work, come back home and at the end of the day, you know, it’s what any mom would do.”

Is there any group or band you’d like to open for in a concert?

CB: “There are so many people I’d love to work with. I definitely have love and respect for Melissa Etheridge. Alanis was great, Joe Cocker was one of the highlights of my life. I’m a big fan of Ray Lamontagne. I like Leslie Fiest. There’s a lot of music that I personally love and enjoy. The craziest thing is that it’s all possible now to work with these people. I can say it, and it can be true.”

When will you be getting into the studio? Will you be singing some of the originals that we’ve already heard?

CB: “I’ve actually got a meeting next week. I’m not really sure of all the details yet, but I’m ready to start working and get this underway.”

Where would you like to play a show in Chicago?

CB: “I lived in Chicago for five years, I spent a lot of time performing in the subways. I’d like to do smaller venues— Metro —and do stuff like that. But obviously big venues too. I love Chicago. Chicago’s my town. Chi-town’s my town.”

Where do you want to go with the sound of your new CD?

CB: “My influences are pretty straightforward as well, but I definitely have my own sound and style. It might be a familiar sound, but at the same time, my songwriting … I don’t know how different it is but simple songs that people can relate to, enjoy and hopefully learn something from through my experience.”

Do you think gender had any sort of role in how the voting was swaying throughout the season and up to the finale?

CB: “I don’t feel that way. I think that American Idol is a competition in a certain way. It really is up to the voting public. Any predictions made at the beginning of the season for a female winner it’s not possible to know. When I became the last girl standing, it became clear to me then that it was definitely possible, however it wasn’t guaranteed. And Lee? I love Lee. Lee is great, he’s super-talented, and I would buy his album in a heartbeat. Whatever happened, happened for a reason, and I’m extremely proud of him and happy for him.”

Tell us about your original song, “Holy Toledo” (the only original song played during an Idol episode):

CB: “That song is very dear to my heart. I wrote it right before I moved to Chicago. I was 17 sitting on a friend’s front porch, and at a point in my life where I love my home town, but I always knew there was something bigger out there, hence the line ‘How do I get to heaven from here.’ Since the show, it’s become an anthem for my city, and what kind of hope is needed there, and I feel so blessed and honored that the show even considered letting me play it at my hometown, and using it on the show. And I will be allowed to play that on Tour, actually, in my hometown. I’m very excited about that.”

What was it like sitting there listening to Ryan (Seacrest) drag out the announcement? Were you pretty sure it was going to be Lee DeWyze?

CB “I woke up on Wednesday morning, and it was a calm morning like any other, and I just had an overwhelming sense of peace and acceptance, and just some strange feeling inside of ‘I knew Lee was going to win.’ I was fine with that because he’s worked so hard. No matter the outcome of this, there are no winners or losers. We’re both going to have pretty successful careers and I couldn’t be prouder of him.

“I think if you watched 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. I wanted to know for sure, I wanted to know if my feeling was right, and I wanted to celebrate for Lee DeWyze.

“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. I looked up at his confetti falling down and I felt ‘This was my confetti.’ I’ve won vicariously through Lee because I could empathize so much.”

How did your experiences on Idol shape or affect the type of music you are hoping to create?

CB: “My experience on Idol … I’ve known who I am as an artist and 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 if there’s going to be group numbers and dances in my career after Idol, but the fact that I made it through all that and I feel that I did a great job, I know it’s possible I could go in any direction I want. Idol taught me a lot, and I’m forever grateful to them.”

What’s the strangest gig you’ve ever played?

CB: “The strangest gig I’ve ever performed. I actually have a really good answer for this. There was a skydivers wake. It wasn’t the funeral, it was the wake. And it was a group of people in Perrysburg, Ohio, that were just really celebrating the life of a friend. They had a big party out in an open field and at the airport and my payment was I could have chosen to take money for the gig or half the money and go skydiving. 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. The people were great, and I have fond memories of that.”
Was your experience on Idol everything she imagined it would be?

CB: “There were a lot of surprises – not really what was happening but in my reaction to it. It’s not an easy thing to go through, it’s emotionally and physically draining. However it was the most amazing experience of my life. It’s really taught me what I’m capable of and how strong I can be for my family and fans and my friends.”

How did you manage your diabetes during your time on the show?

CB: “This is probably my favorite question. Before Idol, I found myself in certain situations, and I never had a lot of money growing up. Good medical care takes money and sadly, there’ve been times in my life where I’ve had to beg for insulin and different things like that and I understand that side of things.

“Having tried out for Idol, I kind of kept my diabetes a secret from them, I played it down. It’s not a big deal. Every diabetic goes through that denial process. And once I had gotten sick back in March, a team of people swarmed in to help and, I never felt so loved in my life. And I just realized that through this show that I had a platform to be a role model for kids, and just for advocacy and to help out the diabetic community in our country and in the world. So that’s the main focus of my career after Idol. I definitely want to do good things.”

Did your blood sugar levels fluctuate a whole lot on the show?

CB: “Of course. Stress affects your blood sugar eating, sleeping habits, all of it affects you. Through the team of care that I received, I’ve never felt as healthy as I am right now.

Do you think you were the front-runner over the course of the season?

CB: “No, I was just happy to get past the stadium and then the next week, and the next week. You never know what’s going to happen in a competition like this, and it’s really up to the voting public.

“My approach to the whole thing was just to remain true to who I am as a person and as an artist. And just give my best personal performance each week. Whatever the outcome was, I was prepared to accept, and embrace and move forward into my career. Coming in second is an amazing feat in itself. This whole thing has just been an amazing journey.

“I couldn’t be happier for Lee. He deserves every minute of it. He’s worked so hard. Both of us have.”

What did you think when Bret Michaels came out to perform during the finale?

CB: “I didn’t actually get to meet Bret Michaels. I didn’t get to watch the performance, but I actually didn’t know Bret Michaels was a Type 1 diabetic until the show. I think it’s great that after everything he’s been through recently, to get out there and perform and just embrace it. I know that he does a lot of good things for JDRF, and I respect him. I would love to work with him in the future if possible, with diabetes advocacy or music, whatever.”

Who do you think should replace Simon?

CB: “Simon is such an epic figure in the show. Replace is not a good word for me. I think that Simon is irreplaceable in a 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.”

Do you think Simon gave Lee an unfair advantage by choosing “Hallelujah” for Lee on Top 3 week?

CB: “I don’t think that it gave Lee necessarily an upper hand. Lee took his song choice from Simon and completely made it his own, and did a beautiful job on it.

“With Ellen’s choice for me, I didn’t feel like I needed to change the song too much from the original, because it’s such an iconic song, and I respect Paul McCartney and love his work. I just sang it the best that I could. And there were things about my voice that I didn’t know I could do. I just think that the whole show is up to the American public and Lee has worked his tail off for this. I think it’s a great thing that he won. I love it. I love him for it. It’s awesome.”

Do you think the judges have any effect on the audience?

CB: “Of course they do. I think their opinions on the show may sway certain voters who aren’t sure how they feel about a performance. That’s fine. They’re experts they know what they’re talking about, and what they say is important.”

Adam Shankman says he’s really open to you and Lee trying out for ‘Rock of Ages’, the movie. Would you do that?

CB: “I’d have to look into the project. It’s an acting thing, right? I would love to. Drama was my first love actually, 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 people. I’m definitely open to something like that.”

How did your attitude toward the show change from beginning to end?

CB: “Oh, wow. For years people had approached me at my shows in Ohio and Chicago saying ‘You should try out for Idol, you should try out for Idol.’ I never really thought about it too much, just because I didn’t feel that I could be that kind of contestant. When I had my son, I was completely ready and needed to make a change. I decided to do it. I don’t regret it at all. I had an amazing time. The staff, the production, the crew just everything that goes into the show there’s so much behind the scenes that people, I feel, don’t get enough credit for. 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 could possibly be.”

Tell us about the event with Ryan in the parking when you allegedly threatened to quit the show

CB: “I feel like I’ve addressed this before. I mean 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. 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, the emotional and physical toll it takes on you. You have moments of not necessarily doubt but you get tired. I missed my son and I just had a nice conversation with Ryan and he was very helpful. I highly respect him.”

You didn’t have the keys in the ignition, ready to pull out did you?

CB: “No, not at all. I’m not a drama diva queen, or whatever people have been saying, none of that.”

Did you care more about performing than winning?

CB: “No I wouldn’t say that was 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 say that no matter what happened it was OK.

“I definitely had a desire to win. 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. I accept that and move on. One door closing is a window opening.”

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Source: Bill Pinella, The Press Democrat


  1. Very well done interview. Crystal's answers all made sense and came across pretty much as I thought they would. She really is in a good place mentally. "One door closing is a window opening" I believe in myself. I have ran through many a doors without fear of the other side. They open for a reason.
    Best of luck to Crystal.

  2. Great interview Crystal! A true professional. A beautiful person. We love you.

    PS -- what a beautiful picture

  3. Crystal
    I was wondering if you had time to go and HELP the people of Millbuey, Ohio ? It was hit hard by a twister,severe damange with 7 people dead and it is only 10 miles southeast of Toledo! I would hope you can go and raise some money for those who need it by doing a concert and call on some of your friends, sing and help any way you can call up Frankie May your bass player and let's all help them out just e-mail me and Im in to do what ever i can ! Let's get the word out. I'm From IOWA and I know it times like these we all have to help.PS. I hope all your family is okay. God bless you always Rosie Aden xo

  4. I have said it many times and have written to Nickie during the weeks...this precious lady is set to effect history as God has created her to touch many in a powerful way. Her journey is just beginning and in all those that have been called and designed for making history; they first have been prepared and have gone through much to help many to you Crystal.....Sapphire

  5. Crystal you are amazing. Your musical talent is a joy. Thank you for what you have already done for type 1 diabetes awareness. I'm so sorry that you had to struggle to even obtain insulin to survive. What a shame that we don't even have generic insulin in this day and age in my opinion or less expensive options. You are truly inspiring to want to help others who are insulin-dependent in the US and the world. No matter what the future holds you have done so much already. Wishing you success in your career and personal life as well as great health, mom of son with type 1