LOS ANGELES -- In Tuesday's blog I predicted Crystal would win American Idol. I said she would have a spectacular outing on the show and leave everything onstage for her three performances.
I'm guessing no one is doubting me now.
As good as she sounded on TV, and I can tell you she sounded even better live. Her voice filled the Nokia Theatre. She had people buzzing over her performances. Even more impressive, the audience was silent and still during her finale of "Up to the Mountain (MLK Song)," written by Patty Griffin. I had goosebumps and I wasn't alone.
Several women sitting behind me in the theater were Lee fans -- they even had a sign they brought along, not that the camera was going to pan up high enough to see us in the rafters. After the first performance by Lee and Crystal, they didn't say much. By the end of the second round of songs, they conceded "Crystal is in it to win it."
And after "Up to the Mountain," they said Crystal was the much better singer Tuesday night. That was the consensus everywhere else in the theater. Lee fans weren't as vocal -- even he looked in shock about his night as he left the stage after his second song, "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M. It just wasn't his night, just as last week he owned the stage, the judges, the audience, and the votes.
The shift in momentum from Lee, who came in as the surprising front-runner, was palpable. By show's end, Crystal had regained her status as the one to beat.
On my way to the press conference, I was riding in an elevator with some Fox/American Idol employees. One remarked to the other, "Lee sounded so much better in the rehearsals." I guess nerves got the best of him.
Crystal, though, seemed fired up in a way I haven't seen all season. Any doubts about her not wanting to win the competition were cast aside last night by three performances that got better each time.
After the press conference I saw her dad, Bill Bowersox, along with family and friends standing outside the theater. Needless to say, his grin and glow was something you only see from a proud father.
He said he thought Lee did well but he acknowledged that his daughter did better.
"She kicked ass," he said.
Indeed she did.
A small sample:
New York Daily News: STORY