Born in Elliston, Ohio with her twin brother Carl, Crystal attended Oak Harbor High School in Oak Harbor, Ohio, and later the Toledo School for the Arts in Toledo, Ohio. She has announced that she has type 1 diabetes, and that after her Idol career she wants to bring more awareness to the disease.
As a struggling musician, Bowersox got by as a street performer at several train stations, particularly when she lived in Chicago. She also played extensively in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. Before Idol, Crystal regularly performed Gospel music at her church.
In a January 6, 2014 interview with Good Day L.A., Bowersox came out as bisexual, something she admitted to knowing for as long as she could remember.
Bowersox married her longtime friend, musician and songwriter Brian Walker, on October 10, 2010 at Uncommon Ground Cafe in Chicago where they had met six years earlier while performing at an open mic night. She has a son, Tony, from a previous relationship.
On May 6, 2013, Bowersox and Walker released a statement to People magazine announcing that they were ending their 2 and a half year marriage.
Bowersox auditioned for American Idol in Chicago, Illinois singing "Piece of My Heart;" Guest judge Shania Twain commented that she had a "raw, natural talent."
Bowersox was hospitalized on March 2, because of complications from diabetes, forcing a last minute switch in scheduling to give her extra time to recuperate. Bowersox confirmed the illness on the May 19th results show during an interview with host Ryan Seacrest. The men competed that day instead of the women, and when she sang next day, all of the judges were impressed. The following week, her strong performance prompted Simon Cowell to state, "Right now, you are the one everyone has to beat."
After Siobhan Magnus's elimination from the top 6 of American Idol, Bowersox became the last remaining female contestant in the competition. Bowersox is the first female contestant to make it to the finale since Jordin Sparks won the title in 2007, and also the first contestant in American Idol history to have one of their original songs played on the show. Crystal's original song "Holy Toledo" was played on the May 19th Top 3 Results show. It was used as the background music for her homecoming package as she returned to Toledo, Ohio and Elliston, Ohio the previous weekend - and segued into her live performance of the same song at the affectionately named "Bowerstock."
Simon Cowell's final critique on American Idol was on the final performance day when he called her performance of "Up to the Mountain" "outstanding" and by far, "the best performance and song of the night."
Bowersox was named the runner-up to winner Lee DeWyze on the May 26th finale show.
|Week #||Theme||Song choice||Original recording artist||Order #||Result|
|Audition||Auditioner's Choice||"Piece of My Heart"||Erma Franklin||N/A||Advanced|
|Hollywood Week||First Solo||"(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman"||Aretha Franklin||N/A||Advanced|
|Hollywood Week||Group Round||"Get Ready"||The Temptations||N/A||Advanced|
|Hollywood Week||Second Solo||"If It Makes You Happy"||Sheryl Crow||N/A||Advanced|
|Top 24 (12 Women)||Billboard Hot 100 Hits||"Hand in My Pocket"||Alanis Morissette||11||Safe|
|Top 20 (10 Women)||"Long as I Can See the Light"||Creedence Clearwater Revival||1||Safe|
|Top 16 (8 Women)||"Give Me One Reason"||Tracy Chapman||7||Safe|
|Top 12||The Rolling Stones||"You Can't Always Get What You Want"||The Rolling Stones||12||Safe|
|Top 11||Billboard #1 Hits||"Me and Bobby McGee"||Roger Miller||5||Safe|
|Top 10||R&B/Soul||"Midnight Train to Georgia"||Cissy Houston||9||Safe|
|Top 9||Lennon/McCartney||"Come Together"||The Beatles||5||Safe|
|Top 9||Elvis Presley||"Saved"||LaVern Baker||1||Safe|
|Top 7||Inspirational||"People Get Ready"||The Impressions||7||Safe|
|Top 6||Shania Twain||"No One Needs to Know"||Shania Twain||4||Safe|
|Top 5||Frank Sinatra||"Summer Wind"||Wayne Newton||3||Safe|
|Top 4||Songs of the Cinema Duet|
|"Falling Slowly" — Once with Lee DeWyze|
"I'm Alright" — Caddyshack
|Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová|
|Top 3||Contestant's Choice|
|"Come to My Window"|
"Maybe I'm Amazed"
|Top 2||Contestant's Choice|
Simon Fuller's Choice
|"Me and Bobby McGee"|
"Up to the Mountain (MLK Song)"
- Due to the judges using their one save to save Michael Lynche, the Top 9 remained intact for another week.
- Though Crystal Bowersox was the last contestant announced to be 'safe' and moving on to the Top 3, Ryan Seacrest stressed on the Top 4 Results Night that the 'safe' contestants would be announced "in no particular order." Thus, the audience has no way of knowing which of the Top 3 was the second-lowest vote-getter that night after Michael Lynche, who was eliminated.
- Song selected by Ellen DeGeneres.
- Due to the judges using their one save on Michael Lynche, the Top 9 remained intact for an extra week.
After American IdolEdit
One day after Bowersox was named season 9 runner-up, it was announced that she had signed with Simon Fuller's 19 Entertainment and with Jive Records. Her single "Up to the Mountain (MLK Song)" has since been released to radio stations and iTunes. Her debut album Farmer's Daughter will be released by Jive Records on December 14, 2010.
Bowersox released Farmer's Daughter on December 14, 2010 via Jive Records. The title track, which is about her tumultuous and abusive relationship with her mother while growing up, was released as the first single. The song has received good reviews.
Overall, as of April 17, 2011, the album has so far sold 184,000 copies to date & has received mostly mixed reviews.
On April 28, 2011, Bowersox returned to American Idol & performed her new single Ridin' With The Radio.
Released by Jive and signing with a new labelEdit
On October 20, 2011 Bowersox said in an interview that she was no longer with Jive Records after the label was disbanded due to RCA Records Group's decision to dismantle not just Jive but also Arista & J. Bowersox did say, however, that she will release her second album independently. She released an EP of pre-Idol recordings called Once Upon A Time in June 2012.
Bowersox announced on October 3, 2012 that she had signed a deal with Shanachie Records. Her first album with her new label, All This for That, was released on March 26, 2013. It has sold 8,000 copies to date. The album's first single, "Dead Weight", was released on iTunes on February 12, 2013. The album also features a collabration with Wallflowers lead singer Jakob Dylan.
Bowersox later released a Christmas single called "Coming Out for Christmas" on Novermber 19, 2013. Proceeds from the sale of the song will go to the Trevor Project, a non-profit organization that helps provide suicide prevention services to LGBT youth.
In addition to working on her music, Bowersox will make her Broadway debut as legendary country singer Pasty Cline in the production Always, Pasty Cline, which will premiere on the Great White Way in 2014.
In 2014, Bowersox teamed up with Pledge Music to raise money for an EP called Promises. 5% of the money raised will go to Rock 'n Roll Camp for Girls Los Angeles. She successfully reached her goal and released the EP on September 23, 2014.
- "Coming Out for Christmas" (2013)
- Farmer's Daughter (2010)
- All This for That (2013)
- Once Upon A Time (2012)
- Promises (2014)
|Lee DeWyze · Crystal Bowersox · Casey James · Michael Lynche · Aaron Kelly · Siobhan Magnus · Tim Urban · Katie Stevens · Andrew Garcia · Didi Benami · Paige Miles · Lacey Brown|