Why I’m Voting For “American Idol” Contestant Crystal Bowersox

The ladyfolk really redeemed themselves last night on “American Idol.” I was impressed by Lilly Cole’s rendition of “A Change Is Gonna Come.” I was moved by Katelyn Epperly’s crooning version of Coldplay’s “The Scientist.” And I am still a fan of resident oddball, Siobahn Magnus, who devoured Aretha Franklin’s “Freedom.” But there is one contestant I am totally in awe of … Crystal Bowersox. As many of you know, the men and women switched nights this week because Crystal was severely ill in the hospital. They didn’t tell us why, but it sounded very serious. All she said was, “I’m a tough cookie.” Food poisoning? A heart condition? Cancer? But I forgot all about the mystery and intrigue of fatal illness the minute she opened up her mouth to sing a gospel version of Creedence Clearwater Revivial’s “Long As I Can See The Light.” If she is on death’s doorstep, I wouldn’t have known it. It was one of those great, rare moments, where I felt like I was in the presence of a legend. To me, she could be the Janis Joplin of our generation—hopefully minus the drug problem. I like Crystal for her counter-culture, dread-locked, “I just don’t give an eff” vibe. I like the fact that she is doing this for her baby son, and that she carries around mementos from her life in a dragonfly pouch. I like that she performed in subway stations, that she can play guitar and harmonica, and that she isn’t the perfect, polished cookie-cutter 20-year-old beauty that we’ve come to expect on the “Idol” stage. All endearing BS aside, when she sang last night, she won my vote for the rest of the competition.