Crystal Lynn Bowersox (born August 4, 1985) is an American singer-songwriter from Elliston, Ohio, and the runner-up of the ninth season of American Idol.

Personal Life[edit | edit source]

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.

Marriage[edit | edit source]

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 two-and-a-half-year marriage.

American Idol[edit | edit source]

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 19 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' elimination from the Top 6, Bowersox became the last remaining female contestant in the competition. Bowersox was 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 19 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 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 26 finale show.

After American Idol[edit | edit source]

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.

Farmer's Daughter[edit | edit source]

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 hd sold 184,000 copies to date and has received mostly mixed reviews.

On April 28, 2011, Bowersox returned to American Idol and performed her new single "Ridin' with the Radio".

New Label[edit | edit source]

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 and J. Bowersox did say, however, that she would 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 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 collaboration 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.

Broadway Debut[edit | edit source]

In addition to working on her music, Bowersox made her Broadway debut as legendary country singer Pasty Cline in the production Always, Pasty Cline, which premiered on the Great White Way in 2014.

Promises EP[edit | edit source]

In 2014, Bowersox teamed up with Pledge Music to raise money for an EP called Promises. Five percent of the money raised went go to Rock 'n Roll Camp for Girls Los Angeles. She successfully reached her goal and released the EP on September 23, 2014.

Discography[edit | edit source]

Holiday singles:

  • "Coming Out for Christmas" (2013)


  • Farmer's Daughter (2010)
  •  All This for That (2013)


  • Once Upon a Time (2012)
  • Promises (2014)

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