Bowersox advances to top 16 on ‘Idol’Written by Kristen Criswell | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite being hospitalized 24 hours earlier with diabetes complications, Crystal Bowersox wowed “American Idol” judges on March 3.
Bowersox’s performance earned her enough votes to advance to the Top 16 “American Idol” contestants.
Bowersox opened the women’s performance, which was switched with the men’s night due to Bowersox’s hospitalization, with a blues rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “As Long as I Can See the Light.”
The Elliston native received praise from all four judges, even Simon Cowell, who was critical of her performance before.
“Crystal, I completely underestimated you last week, because for you to come back this week with that song, that performance … I promise you, this was like the moment we realized with Kelly Clarkson that we’ve got a serious artist here. And I think we’ve got a really serious artist with you,” he said.
Bowersox’s performance was no surprise for those who know her.
If everything goes right in her performances the audience will be “blown away,” said Frankie May, a bassist who has performed with Bowersox in Toledo and is a friend.
“She’s a great musician. I love her songs. I mean the covers that we did, she’d make her own. But, the area she really did shine was with her own original music,” he said.
May, who had connections to Bowersox through his parents and her grandparents, first met Bowersox 10 years ago when she was playing with his father, Bobby May, at Papa’s Tavern.
The pair have jammed with each other since their first meeting. Playing together before Bowersox moved to Chicago and after she moved back to Toledo, he said.
The duo has played at the Village Idiot, Papa’s Tavern, Nagoya Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi and others. Performing around town at various venues, crowds seemed receptive to Bowersox’s music, May said.
“We had a lot of regulars. A lot of people who enjoyed [the performances], even people who were just passing through. We got a very positive response,” he said.
May thought some of the best shows, Bowersox and he had were on Monday nights at the Village Idiot when the two were in tune with each other and the crowd.
It was surprising when Bowersox auditioned for “Idol,” but it was amazing when she made it, May said.
“I was glad to see she got on when she did. She’s a seasoned artist and I know she will do well,” he said.
“It’s awesome seeing her on TV. She deserves recognition that she’s getting. I’m extremely hopeful for her and this competition. But, I know that even if she were to get cut today, there is a lot more on the horizon for her now that she has received this exposure.”
In his opinion, Bowersox is beyond needing his advice, so when he speaks with her, he gives her words of encouragement, May said.
“She’s already paid her dues in a lot of ways. She’s been out there performing for a long time, even in front of millions of people she feels comfortable with it. It’s very admirable,” May said.
May hopes other area residents will support Bowersox on Idol.
“When somebody from Toledo has a big chance like this you have to support them and represent,” he said. “She’s not going to forget where she came from. She knows that everyone here is cheering her on and voting for her.”
May currently plays bass with the Chris Shutters Band.
Local ‘Idol’ parties
Papa’s Tavern, 1328 Liberty St., will host a viewing of “American Idol” every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday that Bowersox continues to be on the show.
“We’re really happy for her. It’s so great to see her succeed,” said Tim Stahl, owner of Papa’s Tavern. “She’s always been a great musician, when she’d play here people would stop playing pool and focus on her.”
Bowersox began performing at the bar when she was 14 years old and has played there countless times, Stahl said.
It’s bittersweet to see Bowersox in the show because everyone wants her to succeed knowing that means most likely she will not return to Papa’s Tavern to perform, he said.
The bar has a mural by Karen Robinson with four local musicians including Bowersox, that was started before she was on “Idol.”
“Crystal’s a very spiritual young lady,” Robinson said. “She’s awesome, we love her.”
During the women’s performance, March 3, the Papa’s Tavern was full of people wearing shirts that said “Papa’s Tavern Supports Mama Sox.” As Bowersox was shown on camera, everyone in the bar cheered and clapped for their favorite contestant.
Debbie May, Bobby May’s wife, was at the bar to show support for Bowersox, who has performed music with her husband.
“It’s amazing to see her perform. I’m so proud of Crystal,” she said. “She used to just draw crowds of women and then it expanded to include crowds of men. I know with all my heart she’s going to make it all the way.”
Bar patrons said they don’t think being on “American idol” will change Bowersox much.
“She’s not a diva. She may change her makeup and clothing for “American Idol,” but she will be true to who she is,” Stahl said.
Eight women and eight men remain in the competition. Bowersox will compete live against other female contestants March 9. The following evening, March 10, will be the male competition.
FOX Toledo airs “American Idol.”