Two singers with northwest Ohio connections are competing to be the next American Idol.
Luke Shaffer, 24, who goes by Luke James, and Crystal Bowersox, 25, are among a select few Idol auditioners so far to advance to the Hollywood round in the Fox network's singer-performer competition.
Idol can be seen Tuesdays and Wednesdays on Toledo's WUPW-TV, Channel 36.
Shaffer, a 2008 graduate of Bowling Green State University who was born and reared in Bowling Green, auditioned in Boston. Shaffer lives in New York City, where he waits tables at an upscale French Restaurant.
Bowersox, a singer/songwriter from Elliston, Ohio, who was a winner in last year's Blade Battle of the Bands contest, auditioned in Chicago. She is the mother of a 7-month-old son and performs in the Toledo area frequently.
Shaffer describes his singing style as pop meets acoustic, while Bowersox, who could not be reached for comment, has a potent Melissa Etheridge-type voice.
The pair will compete against other singers nationwide in February, before the field is narrowed to a small group of semifinalists.
Shaffer auditioned in Louisville last year and failed to advance. This year after his Boston performance for the judges, Shaffer said Simon Cowell told him, "People would like me, but it wasn't the best audition."
Still, Shaffer likes his chances at being crowned American Idol.
"I know I'm as talented as the people who have won in the past," he said. "The only thing that worries me is that the last two winners have been my age and are similar in style. I think I have a shot. Hopefully, they don't compare me too much to the last two winners and just look at my talent."
Entering its ninth season, American Idol remains the No. 1 show on network television, and launched the careers of Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry, David Cook, Clay Aiken, Jennifer Hudson, and Adam Lambert.