If Crystal Bowersox Wins ‘Idol’, We Lose

Crystal Bowersox is the overwhelming favorite after killing her performances in last night's finale.

It took me until the ninth season of American Idol to give a damn. And now, it’s down to two contestants — Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox. Both are 24 and couldn’t be bigger underdogs. After last night’s final performances, it’s clear Bowersox is the bigger talent.

But, for the love of everything holy, I implore you to vote for Lee DeWyze. A vote for Crystal Bowersox is a vote for terrorism, and here’s why:

She’s a modern day Janis Joplin. That’s a high compliment, I realize, and I say it not because of Bowersox’s physical appearance. (You can about imagine the awful makeover she’d be given if she wins — veneers, no more dreadlocks, a summer with Jillian Michaels.) The point is she’s raw and achingly talented, but that won’t make her a commercial success, necessarily. No one doubts Joplin’s brilliance, but she put more into her live performance (and drinking) than churning out chart-topping singles. That’s what the Idol machine demands of its winners, though.

She’s already playing to the wrong audience. Isn’t it strange seeing Bowersox on stage performing before hundreds of the same teenage girls who would’ve made fun of her in high school? Her style is too mature for the iTunes set. Idol winners don’t so much win a record deal as they win a role. If she wins, she’ll be lucky to pen a single lyric. Her future image and sound is being constructed by a think tank right now. The problem? The brainiacs at Idol will try and dress her as another Joss Stone — someone no artist aspires to be. Bowersox doesn’t want to be popular. Not to the demographic Idol will try and sell her to, anyway.

Lee DeWyze went from underdog to endearing soft rocker overnight.

Lee DeWyze has huge upside. Bowersox has been a star since her first audition, while DeWyze has made huge strides throughout the season. He seems like a nice enough guy and maintains that deer-in-the-headlights look we want in our winners. (Think of a David Cook, who looked like he’d been performing on Idol his whole life.)  DeWyze, like Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson before him, appears to be someone America could know and love on a personal level, which, in the music industry, translates to “Cha-ching.” DeWyze shouldn’t win because he’s better, but because he stands to benefit more. Bowersox would get to keep her freedom.

This is the most important vote in Idol history. Don’t screw it up. With Simon Cowell leaving and the few winners — Kris Allen and David Cook — already wandering into musical obscurity, Idol needs someone who can be a No. 1 artist. That ain’t Bowersox. Talent doesn’t always win when it comes to female recording artists. (See: Jenny Lewis, Norah Jones, Feist, Tori Amos.) This is a world where Katy Perrys and Ke$has win because they’ll sing ridiculous things, look sexy and make it all really catchy. Bowersox is kitschy, not catchy. DeWyze, on the other hand, benefits from other brooding soft rockers like Lifehouse, Goo Goo Dolls, Counting Crows and — to a lesser extent — Pearl Jam. (DeWyze reminds me of another Chicago-native — Eddie Vedder. The difference? All that goofy smiling.)

It’s not about you. You might get the warm-and-fuzzies voting on longshots like Ruben Studdard, Fantasia or Taylor Hicks, but enough with the charity already. Don’t vote for Bowersox if you don’t plan on buying her debut album.


Rant complete, I’m looking at tonight’s finale like a divorce settlement. Bowersox and DeWyze will finally split, and while one may get full custody (a record deal), the other can relish their newfound freedom (no record deal but a buttload of fame). Here’s hoping, for the sake of both, DeWyze wins while Bowersox is graceful in defeat. Best bet is your loser will be the winner a year from now.

9 thoughts on “If Crystal Bowersox Wins ‘Idol’, We Lose

  1. Looks like you don’t know your ASS from a hole in the ground. How IGNORANT you are–Just made a TOTAL ASS of yourself. LMAO

  2. As much as I can’t quite believe you wrote about that show, I must say this is a solid bit of work, and your arguments ring true, as does your frank assessment of what does, and doesn’t, “work” in today’s music industry, especially on this particular assembly line approach to star-making.

  3. I don’t think we’ll have to worry, DeWyze will win it by a large margin. Last week’s performance was enough.

    Wait… did I just comment on an AI post? Oh, jeezus.

  4. Lee DeWyze has a future in the music industry, really? If the lack of success of David Cook and Kris Allen says anything, it’s that Lee doesn’t have a chance. Especially now that the show has lost all relevance with Cowell soon leaving and the horrible decision to bring that big eared boy named Ellen on….whose only job is to tell the females how pretty and amazing they look even though Ellen has spent her whole life trying to look like a man.

    I’d like to see Bowersox win just because I think she has the best chance to be more relevant and actually have a meaningful career in music. And the female solo acts from AI have shown they are much more relevant than the male solo acts.

  5. So I did some research because I was sure that I had heard executive producer Simon Fuller has exclusive rights to all American Idol contestants. I was almost wrong. From what I have found, Simon Fuller and 19 Group (Simon Fuller’s production company) own the production rights to the first place contestant and the runner-up. They have the option to sign the 3rd through the 12th contestants. Here is the financial breakdown found by the social watchdog TMZ.


    The point that I’m getting at is Mama Sox has already lost the creative control that she so desperately needs. And unfortunately for everyone, Crystal’s performance was what was needed to win this popularity contest.

    I watched the performances today via DVR… Who were those 4-5 attractive young ladies they kept cutting to sitting behind the judges??

  6. This is the first year I’ve stared watching this show and I loved both Lee & Crystal and I think you make great points! Great post :)

  7. you have a funny way of showing your support for Bowersox. With that said, she is a phenomenal singer. If Idol was based purely on the performances of the evening and not a popularity contest, she would of won. Hands down.

    That is not to say that I wanted her to win(I didnt) but that she should of won.

  8. Was I the only one disappointed she never sang “Piece of my Heart?” She would’ve wailed on that one. I agree that she has a chance to transcend her Idol audience, but it’ll really come down to song writing for her. Idol is glorified karaoke. Crystal has a unique voice. The question is if she’s a unique song writer, or at least has the sense to partner with one. We shall see.

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