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Published: Monday, 5/10/2010

Crystal's trip to Toledo

KIRK BAIRD
BLADE POP CULTURE EDITOR

OK, here's what we know. Crystal will be singing the National Anthem Friday night at Fifth Third Field for a Mud Hens game.

After that, the plans remain vague. Typically, when the top three American Idol finalists return home, there's a parade and a performance. I would expect the same for Crystal.

Where will it be?

Elliston is her home, but anyone who's been through the tiny collection of homes and farms -- it's too small to be considered a town -- knows residents there will have a difficult time putting on a big homecoming, though it's certainly possible if they have assistance from Ottawa County, where Elliston is located.

There have been some talks about Ottawa County hosting an event at its fairgrounds, but nothing definite so far.

Toledo, meanwhile, is taking a wait-and-see approach to it all. There's the budget issue to consider, as well as not wanting to step in and claim Crystal as the city's own, as most of the national media has done already. But certainly Toledo offers the biggest venues and biggest crowds for any regional performance and parade.

Ultimately, American Idol and Fox are calling the shots on this, with, I imagine, significant input from Crystal. I'm guessing she'll split her appearances and, perhaps, performances, in Toledo and Elliston/Ottawa County.

But, again, that's just a guess. As soon as The Blade has confirmation of the plans, we'll get it posted.

What I do know is that Crystal's showing on American Idol is the best thing to happen to northwest Ohio in a while. In a time of mostly dour news for the area as it claws and scratches its way out of a dark hole, Crystal has given residents a much-needed jolt of optimism about their future.

It's no secret the 24-year-old single mom's had a tough life, and to see her succeed on the American Idol stage is proof of the possibilities for anyone in Toledo; an example of, if she can do it, why can't I? That's something to be celebrated and embraced by everyone in northwest Ohio. Here's hoping it will be.



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