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Interview: Crystal Bowersox from American Idol

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After writing about the contestants of American Idol season nine this year, I had an opportunity to sit down with several of the contestants during their tour stop in Sacramento, CA.

Runner-up Crystal Bowersox and I talk water balloon fights, Ellen’s decision to leave Idol and how she stays in contact with her son while on tour.

How’s tour going?

It’s good!

Good! Do you have any fun bus stories that you can share?

Ummm, not really. Today, however, is a special occasion, I ‘spose. I caught wind on Twitter that some fans were going to be waiting outside with water balloons.

Oh, I’ve seen them! They’re out there. They’ve got a ton. Crystal Bowersox performing in Sacramento, CA.

Well, so how much is a ton?

There’s a small cooler and it’s filled.

Okay, we’ve got a big cooler and we’re filling it up right now.

I’m going outside to watch.

It’ll be fun.

You’re signed?

Yes.

Have you been working on your album, yet?

Nope, I’m on tour.

Okay, so you’re not doing what Lee’s doing going back and forth?

Well, I mean, you know writing stuff and just kind of figuring all that out, but I don’t want to rush it. I want to be bright. I want to do one thing at a time. Right now my attention is devoted to putting on a good show every night for the tour, and after that I’ll focus on the album.

Do you have anyone in mind that you might want to work with or write with for your album?

I’ve said a couple names already, I don’t want to make too many promises, because I don’t know what’s going to be set in stone yet.

I know that you’ve been doing work with diabetes awareness, I was wondering if you could explain who you’re working with and what your purpose is with that?

Okay, personally I’ve been type 1 diabetic since I was about six, and I’ve been working with the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), I went to Washington D.C. while we were there to talk to the advisors of the President about something called, “The Special Diabetes Program.” That’s the government funding for the JDRF. It constitutes one-third of their funding, so it’s definitely important that that’s always renewed. If it’s not, that’s a huge chunk of JDRF funding, and we’re looking for a cure.

I think that’s great that you take your celebrity and do something purposeful with it.

We’ve all received plenty of help, you gotta give it back.

With Idol tryouts going on, what advice do you have for future contestants?

Save your money, cause if you make it and you get past the rounds and you’re in it, they don’t really take care of you until it gets down to the nitty gritty. You need a little cushion to fall back on for living expenses or whatever, pay your bills and stuff. Start saving now, have a nice cushion to land on.

Were you shocked with Ellen’s decision to leave?

Not at all. I didn’t see it coming, I didn’t anticipate it or anything, but I definitely understand where she’s coming from. Ellen’s a sweet-hearted lady, I could see her being a little uncomfortable judging people. In her career, she’s been judged so much too, I couldn’t see where she’d want to do that for a living to anyone else.

Do you think that it is more important for the new judge to be a success in the music world or be an industry insider?

The thing that Ellen brought to the show was the consumer’s attitude and opinion. I think that as far as replacing Ellen goes, they should have another music appreciator, maybe a music critic or a writer, someone who knows music and things like that. And maybe for Simon’s spot, definitely an insider in the industry, who can spot talent when they see it.

I read recently, that they [Idol] are talking about focusing more on you guys the performers, more so than casting. Do you think in the past, while you were on the show that they focused more on casting over your actual performances?

They definitely do that. Through my experience in the tryouts and everything, there were some phenomenal, phenomenal people who didn’t make it. I’m not really sure why, if it was a look they were looking for, if it was a certain thing, but I think it is character casting almost, and it should focus more on the music.

With the tour coming to a close, what are you going to take from this experience?

A long nap, that’s what I’m going to take. A long nap. This has definitely been an experience, one we can learn from about life on the road and how to do it. And what it takes to have this lifestyle and be this busy. I’ll know what to expect on one of my own tours, and all of this is really testing yourself on what you can really handle.

I have some fan questions. What is the most random item that you’ve signed?

We get a lot of requests to sign arms and body parts.

Have you seen one of those [autographs] tattooed on yet?

Oh no, not yet. Someone asked me to sign their crying child, didn’t do it. People get a lot of different things.

Your favorite kitchen appliance?

Favorite kitchen appliance? Probably a food processor. Used it to make baby food, make guacamole, you know lots of fun stuff. I don’t know.

One thing that you wouldn’t be able to get through the tour without?

My guitar, my insulin. Some clothes, my computer. My computer definitely, I Skype to the kid, my baby.

How is he?

He’s good, he’s handling all of this really well.

Is it difficult for you to be apart from him for lengths of time like this?

Oh yeah. I think it’s hard for any parent really to be away from their kid for any length of time. We as parents, do it for them, so it’s totally worth it.

Do you feel that Twitter works as a good connection for you to talk to fans?

Yeah, it’s definitely a good connection. They can stay informed, you can joke around, and I think it gives more of an intimate connection with the people who love what you do. They all know your name and you might not know them, and they’re the ones who are making it happen for ya. I think it’s a good thing.

Thank you very much, have a good show tonight!

Thank you.

For more information on Crystal Bowersox, please visit her website.

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About Kirsten Coachman

Kirsten Coachman is an Entertainment Writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. She has interviewed a variety of people from across the entertainment spectrum, including singer-songwriter/Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas, Andrew Dost from the Grammy Award-winning band fun., singer-songwriter Christina Perri, and acclaimed writer-director Derek Cianfrance.