Crystal Bowersox

Can anything good come out of Toledo, Ohio? America certainly thinks so – Northwest Ohio native and graduate of the Toledo School for the Arts Crystal Bowersox was one of the last two standing on season nine of “American Idol,” a crowd favorite and the first female finalist since Jordin Sparks in 2007.

With her gritty powerhouse voice and raw, natural talent, it’s no wonder the audience and judges knew early on to expect big things from Bowersox. And she hasn’t let them down. Since her season of “Idol” wrapped, Bowersox has signed with Jive records, recorded her debut album and toured with a bevy of top recording artists. Crystal even played at the 2010 Q102 Bosom Ball for Breast Cancer with Angel Taylor, Vivi Brown and Sara Bareilles.

But this new-found fame and household-name status is a recent and very different experience from the life Bowersox led before Idol. A struggling musician, she began her music career by performing gospel music in her church and playing in Toledo bars. After moving to Chicago at the age of 17, she busked in train stations and frequented open mics to earn money.

And though she is happily married to musician Brian Walker, Bowersox hasn’t always had it easy in the love department, either. She’s a single mom to a young son from a previous relationship. During her time on “American Idol,” Crystal dated Tony Kusian, but the couple broke up mere hours before the show’s finale. As she told Ryan Seacrest, “He went home. He wasn’t cool with the lifestyle. He’s a small-town guy and it’s fine, but I’m a small-town girl and I want this. I want this more than anything – this career, this lifestyle. I didn’t think he was up for it.”

Also during “Idol,” Crystal announced that she has type 1 diabetes and was hospitalized in March of 2010 as a result of the illness. Now that she has opened up about having diabetes, she plans to use her career in the spotlight to bring more awareness to the disease.

You can preview and purchase Crystal Bowersox’s new single, “Ridin with the Radio,” here.

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