Bad news, American Idol fans: even as Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze face off to determine the “winner” on American Idol this week, the results won’t be revealed for at least another six months or so. While the official title will be given to one of them on Wednesday based on viewer voting totals, the real winner – in terms of who gets to have a successful career in the music business – won’t present itself in even partial form until the two release their albums and we get an idea of who they really are, or at least who they aspire to be, as musicians. While fans of the two contestants each want their favorite to win, most members of the general public would have no basis upon which to answer if you asked them whether they plan to purchase the albums of either, both, or neither singer, and they won’t begin to have an answer until they’ve at least heard the first singles off of both records.
American Idol has had seasons in which both of the top two contestants “won” in hindsight, seasons which produced no winners despite one being crowned, and seasons in which one of the contestants who didn’t even make it to the finale ended up being the one to win the “grand prize” of getting to have a music career. So even as Idol gears up to name either Crystal Bowersox or Lee DeWyze the “winner” next week, it could eventually turn out that they both one, or both lost, or that the real winner of season nine has already been sent home. Only time will tell.
What do you think? Will Lee or Crystal be named “the winner” next week? Will either or both of them be able to claim the prize of having successful music careers? You tell us.
In publicly thanking fans for promoting her into top two on American Idol, Crystal Bowersox revealed that a little over a year ago she was “wondering where my next meal would come from” and that these are “amazing” days. While limited money for even basic necessities like food is not uncommon for struggling musicians, Crystal’s words make this sound like a true rags to riches story for her whether she wins next week or not; the second place finisher will also end up signing a lucrative record deal. Or as Bowersox put it, “I can’t believe how funny life is sometimes.”
The rather unique names of both American Idol finalists, Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze, means that you can google their names and be reasonably sure that nearly all the results are in reference to them (as opposed to the multitudes of people out there named “Casey James” for instance). So as Idol viewers spent the next week trying to predict whether Crystal or Lee will win in the season finale, one interesting measure of each contestant’s relative popularity is to take a look at just how often their name is being mentioned around the web. A quick search for “Crystal Bowersox” (with quote marks) on Google reveals that there are about 1.85 million results, while a similar search for “Lee DeWyze” (again, with quote marks) reveals about 1.01 million hits.
While there’s no easy way of measuring how many of these mentions are of the positive variety, it does reveal the relative word of mouth that each contestant has going into the final. While Lee DeWyze has surged in recent weeks to a point that many now consider him to be an equal contender for the Idol title, Crystal Bowersox is still been mentioned in the internet nearly twice as much. What does it all mean? That’s for viewers to decide, as in the end it’s only their votes that count. But if frequency of discussion is indeed an indicator, the two contestants may not be as close in popularity heading into the finale as it might otherwise seem.
Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox are both headed to American Idol’s ninth season finale, and while only one of them is from the State of Illinois, both singers cut their musical teeth in the windy city, effectively making for an all-Chicago American Idol finale. While those in Crystal’s Ohio hometown might not prefer that it be phrased that way, the fact is that the midwest’s biggest city helped foster both Crystal’s and Lee’s careers. It’s not clear whether that will serve to help or hurt when it comes to the perception on America’s coasts that the show is basically “Smalltown Idol” – here we have a final in which both Crystal and Lee saw their careers boosted by their time in a big city music scene, just not the ones in New York City or Los Angeles.
In any case, while it’s anyone’s guess as two whether Crystal Bowersox or Lee DeWyze will emerge victorious next week, it’s fair to already declare that the next American Idol winner will have strong Chicago ties.
After last night’s “top three” episode in which Crystal Bowersox, Lee DeWyze, and Casey James squared off with each other to see which two of the three will make it to the season finale, we’ve updated our odds of each of them winning the whole thing accordingly:
Crystal Bowersox: 49% Her two performances last night were enough to all but guarantee that she’ll reach the top two, but for the first time all season, it felt like Lee had finally caught up with her.
Working in her favor: She’s been the de facto frontrunner all season.
Working against her: Lee appears to have more momentum heading into the finale.
Lee DeWyze: 48% Lee’s surge last night suggests that he could in fact the whole thing. We’ve given Crystal one more percentage point than Lee because a tie goes to the incumbent.
Working in his favor: Momentum. Need we say more?
Working against him: if Crystal’s fans had been getting complacent in their voting out of an expectation that she was going to win no matter what, last night may have been a wake-up call for them.
Casey James: 3% We had him pegged at five percent going into last night’s episode, and his odds of winning seem even less likely now. This isn’t an evaluation of Casey as an artist, just an acknowledgement that even most of his fans likely know that he’s almost certainly headed home tonight; anything else would be a shocker.
Working against him: In terms of making it into the top two? At this point, just about everything.
Working in his favor: Chris Daughtry and Jennifer Hudson finished worse than third place, and their careers turned out just fine. If Casey plays things right with his debut album, his will too.
Alright, your turn: How do you see tonight playing out? Is Casey James as certain to be sent home tonight as we think? Are Crystal and Lee really evenly matched heading into the final? You tell us…
When Adam Lambert made a guest appearance on American Idol earlier this season it was in the name of helping all the show’s remaining contestants, so he couldn’t pick sides. But now that he’s a step removed from the show again, he isn’t afraid to speak his mind on who should win – Crystal Bowersox – although in typical Lambert fashion, he had nothing mean or negative to say about the other two contestants. When asked for an answer to who should win out of the remaining top three, he replied “I think Crystal is great. I love her anti-establishment attitude.” He’s also apparently on board with returning for the Idol season finale next week if the show wants him, on a night where Christina Aguilera is already scheduled to perform. Could that mean an Adam-Christina collaboration that some fans of both artists have been clamoring for? We’ll find out soon enough.
Tonight’s duet between American Idol contestants Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze, which upstaged either of their individual performances for the evening, has unofficially surfaced on YouTube already. Their performance of “Falling Slowly” from the movie Once was unanimously loved by the show’s four judges and also appeared to be an audience favorite. Judging by the sheer number of people landing on Beatweek.com in the past several minutes via search terms along the lines of “Crystal Lee duet” we thought we’d go ahead and post the video link for you. Since it’s unofficial we can’t promise it’ll still be live by the time you get to it (no, we’re not the ones who posted the video), but either way it should be officially available for purchase via iTunes soon enough.
Update: the pre-recorded studio version of their duet has also just gone on sale in iTunes for $1.29.
American Idol’s final two contestants won’t square off for another two weeks, but leading contestants Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze paired up tonight for of possible preview of what many viewers expect will be a preview of the season’s final episode. Crystal and Lee duetted on the Oscar winning song Falling Slowly, from the film Once. The performance saw them facing each other instead of the audience, both with acoustic guitars in hand, and a three hundred sixty degree revolving camera. Most the song saw Crystal and Lee singing simultaneously rather than trading vocals.
Voting phone numbers were not posted during the duet, but the performance is likely to impact the voting nonetheless. Randy Jackson declared that the performance “could be a hit right now” while Kara referred to it as one of her “favorite moments” of the season thus far. Lee and Crystal then tried to explain to host Ryan Seacrest what it was like to sing to each other, as Crystal described Lee as her “musical crush”
Crystal Bowersox hasn’t yet revealed which “movie song” she’ll be performing tonight on American Idol, but it’s been revealed that her stage time will indeed involve cranking up the volume. Her “louder” performance tonight will come after Idol’s judges had previously criticized her for some of her previously spare arrangements, particularly her rendition of Shania Twain’s “No One Needs to Know” two weeks ago. Crystal’s performance tonight will include the presence of drums and male backing vocals. Meanwhile, Casey James will be sporting a Mandolin, and all four remaining contestants will be paired up in duets. The fun starts in two hours, at least if you’re on the east coast.
We would never broach a topic like that of an American Idol contestant’s teeth unless the contestant was the one to bring it up in the first place, but that’s exactly the case with Crystal Bowersox. Even after Idol host Ryan Seacrest apparently insulted Crystal’s teeth earlier this week (a story we didn’t touch at the time, by the way), Bowersox has fired back via Idol’s official blog with “No thank you, New York dentist. I am beautiful exactly the way I am.” Apparently all the contestants were afforded a trip to the dentist at the same time, as fellow contestant Michael Lynche beamed “No cavities!” in a blog posting of his own on the same day.
This wouldn’t have been the first time that an Idol contestant suddenly showed up with better looking teeth in the middle of the competition.
But we can’t recall an instance of having ever allowed a musician’s teeth to play a factor in whether or not to purchase their album, or to influence our enjoyment of said album, so we say good for Crystal.
Readers have kept asking, so we frame by framed it on the DVR, and now we have an answer as to what that overly long message said on the front of the T-shirt being worn by the boyfriend of Crystal Bowersox, whom she name-checked at the end of her performance tonight on American Idol. It turns out his shirt says about what you’d have expected it to say:
“Did you know that America prefers Crystal Bowersox for their Idol one BAJILLION times more than other constants”
If you’ve ever taken a photograph of you television set while it’s turned on, then you’ll understand why the above photo is so, shall we say, grainy. But you asked us to get to the bottom of what the shirt said, since it was only on screen for too brief a moment to digest all those words – and now you have your answer.
Update, May 27th, 2010: probably doesn’t matter now, as the two have broken up.
American Idol’s Crystal Bowersox is increasingly emerging as the frontrunner to win this season’s competition, but she’s apparently not willing to that fact get in between her and her fellow seasonmates. Responding to her fans who were using the show’s official Facebook page to overzealously criticize the other contestants, Bowersox declared “There’s no room for hate on this page!”
Spelling it out even further, she added: “Please don’t bash my fellow contestants.”
The public gesture of unity mirrors the solidarity displayed by several leading contestants over the show’s nine seasons. The final six contestants, which also include Lee DeWyze, Siobhan Magnus, Michael Lynche, Casey James, and Aaron Kelly, face off tonight as mentor Shania Twain schools them on how to perform songs from her own catalog.
If you missed the powerful rendition of the classic “People Get Ready” on American Idol tonight by a guitarless Crystal Bowersox, or if you want to see it again – or if you’re on the west coast and you just can’t wait another hour – a video of the two minute performance is on YouTube already. Suffice it to say that it’s not an official upload, so you might want to hurry before it goes poof. Typically speaking, it’ll be available for purchase in iTunes soon enough anyway, but again, if you can’t wait that long, don’t let us get in your way. But before you go, here’s the scoop on her performance.
If you’ve got a secret, you apparently can’t tell it to Ryan Seacrest. After reports surfaced that American Idol contestant Crystal Bowersox had tried to quit the show only to be dissuaded by its host, Bowersox told a friend that she’d been “betrayed” by Seacrest and that the whole thing was nothing more than a moment of weakness, implying that the host exaggerated situation publicly (if it was an attempt on the show’s part to garner attention, well, it worked). However, an unfazed Crystal, who (coincidentally?) was the last performer of the evening, took advice from mentor Alicia Keys on singing “People Get Ready” sans guitar – Keys referred to her as “one of my favorites .. I know that people are gonna love this performance.” Bowersox broke down in tears on the song’s final lines. Randy Jackson promptly offered a standing ovation. Bowersox explained that her emotionality was a result of her father being in the audience.
Meanwhile, Keys also had nothing but praise for contestant Siobhan Magnus, saying that “She’s doing thing that I don’t think most people can do” _ However, the judges weren’t nearly as fond of Magnus’ performance of Miracles.
Michael Lynche performed an acoustic version of “Hero” originally by Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger, leaving the judges (except for Kara) seemingly pleased with the fact that they’d saved him two weeks earlier – although Simon Cowell did make the obligatory snide remark about it being a “song about Spiderman.”
American Idol frontrunner Crystal Bowersox, who reportedly nearly quit the show recently, only to be talked into staying by host Ryan Seacrest, has fired back at the reports. While she doesn’t deny that she considered leaving, she suggests that the story that surfaced wasn’t the same one that actually took place.
In a posting to Idol’s official Facebook page, Crystal opined that the “media is a funny thing. Stretched and skewed and far from the truth. Lets play telephone and see what we come up with!! ”
Point well taken. We’ve said the last we’re going to say on the matter until she’s had a chance to address the issue on one of this week’s Idol episodes – which if they’re smart, they’ll allow her to do. Alicia Keys is scheduled to serve as contestant mentor for the week, whose theme will be centered around “inspirational songs.” Justin Bieber has also stated that he’ll be making an appearance on Idol this week as well.
Continuing the streak of musicians performing on American Idol who’ve previously appeared on the cover of Beatweek Magazine (see Adam Lambert and Brooke White), none other than Lady GaGa has announced via Twitter this evening that she’ll be performing on the show on May 5th. No official word on what song she’ll be performing, but smart money is on her current hit “Telephone” from The Fame Monster. It’s not clear whether she’ll also be the contestant mentor, or simply performing.
In typically esoteric GaGa fashion, she included a link with her announcement, not to more information about her impending Idol performance, but instead to a YouTube clip of a Japanese-language performance of Telephone.
By the time she takes the Idol stage on May 5th, our math says she’ll be giving a front row seat performance for five remaining contestants (or even fewer). If you can’t wait that long to get your GaGa on, feel free to check out our January 2009 cover story interview with Lady GaGa in the mean time.