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Published: Thursday, 3/4/2010

Area singer Bowersox survives 'Idol' second round



Crystal Bowersox worried American Idol judges and her fans this week with an undisclosed illness that kept her overnight in a hospital and from performing in Tuesday night's show.

One Idol producer suggested if Ms. Bowersox didn't sing Wednesday night, after the men and women switched performing dates, she would be eliminated from the competition.

But the self-described “tough cookie” from the Ottawa County community of Elliston wasn't about to let that happen.

Saying she felt good, a vigorous and smiling Ms. Bowersox put her health issues aside — at least for the moment — and delivered a knockout “gospel-ly church” version of Creedence Clearwater Revival's “Long as I Can See the Light” that had the judges gushing, and enough viewers voting her through to next week's Idol.

“That is pure, raw, natural talent,” Ellen DeGeneres told the 24-year-old after the performance. “There's nothing forced, there's nothing pushed. It is just raw, natural talent. I am so glad you're here today. I was so scared for you. Please stay healthy, we need you here. You are amazing.”

Simon Cowell was even more generous with praise, calling Ms. Bowersox's performance the best of the night.

“I have to tell you something, Crystal. I completely underestimated you from last week because for you to come back from last week with that song, that performance, the vocal was incredible,” he said. “I promise you that this was the moment that we realized with Kelly Clarkson that we've got a serious artist here. And I think we've got a really serious artist with you. Congratulations.”

While Ms. Bowersox, a former Blade Battle of the Bands winner, received enough votes to advance in the competition, four contestants were not so fortunate.

Thursday night, American Idol reduced its semifinalist pool from 20 to 16, with John Park, Jermaine Sellers, Michelle Delamor, and Haeley Vaughn eliminated from the competition. Last night, 27 million people voted.

Next week will feature the women performing Tuesday and the men performing on Wednesday, with the results aired Thursday night.

American Idol, in its ninth season, is a ratings juggernaut for Fox. The music talent show also is responsible for jumpstarting the careers of Ms. Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Chris Daughtry.

American Idol is seen locally on WUPW-TV, Channel 36.

Contact Kirk Baird at:kbaird@theblade.com,or 419-724-6734.

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