Crystal Bowersox's Illness Clouds Contestant's Future
By Sam Brand Posted Mar 12th 2010 05:15PM
You're a big deal if you can force 'American Idol' to shift its schedule. Last week, the guys sang before the girls after Crystal Bowersox's doctor kept the sick singer off the stage. It was an unprecedented shakeup for one of TV's most reliably scheduled shows. This week, Bowersox swept the incident aside and followed her talent into the Top 12. But will her health keep her from winning it all?
Former 'American Idol' favorites Christina Christian, Megan Joy, Carly Smithson and David Cook also experienced health scares during competition. Cook, whose condition was perhaps the most serious in 'Idol's' history, was hospitalized for heart palpitations and high blood pressure after Dolly Parton night during season seven. He went on to win it all.
Bowersox, a 24-year-old Ohio native and mother of one, suffers from diabetes. She is the unanimous favorite among online betting sites to win season nine. Last week, it was questionable whether she'd even be able to compete for the Top 16.
But 'Idol' producers shuffled the schedule to accommodate the hospitalized musician. The men performed on Tuesday, and the women on Wednesday, allowing the sick Bowersox an extra day of rest, and injecting a fascinating storyline into a show whose ratings have recently slumped. Predictably, show producers said the shakeup was all about Bowersox's health. Had she failed to make it onstage last Wednesday, she would have been the first competitor in the show's history to be disqualified for health reasons.
"If you're in the Olympics and you're going for the semifinal, for the final, if you don't turn up, you don't get straight through to the final," executive producer Ken Warwick told Ryan Seacrest on his radio show last week.
Crystal turned up last week, in a big way. Simon Cowell raved about her performance of Creedence Clearwater Revival's 'Long As I Can See the Light.'
"This was like the moment we realized with Kelly Clarkson that we've got a really serious artist here."
This week Bowersox took on Tracy Chapman's 'Give Me One Reason.' The judges' reactions were equally positive.
"This is what the show's about for me," Randy Jackson said.
On Thursday night, Bowersox moved into the Top 12 amid a swirl of uncertainty as to whether her health will again impede her journey to the top. It's unclear if producers will again modify the show's schedule to accommodate the ill singer. It's even less clear if the pressure of the final rounds will take an increasing toll on her health. According to doctors, mental stress can be particularly harmful to those living with diabetes.
Still, as Simon said this past week, Bowersox is "the one to beat."
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