'American Idol' notes: Crystal Bowersox interview, Lauren Alaina, Carrie Underwood, Katie Stevens

This was posted Thursday, June 8, 2017 by Rodney Ho/ rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

I recently caught up with my favorite season 9 singer Crystal Bowersox for the first time in two years. The Nashville-based singer songwriter is performing at the City Winery in Atlanta on Saturday, June 10. (Tickets available for $20 to $30.)

She is now a single mom with an eight-year-old son who also happens to raise chickens in her backyard. (One recently got out and she had to spend time chasing it down, like Rocky.)

And she is releasing a live album "Alive," which will come out June 16. (You can pre order here.) She recorded it in Sante Fe, N.M. and put the entire album together including the artwork. The two singles off the album are "The Ride" and "Until Then," a tune about unrequited love.

"I personally have found some peace and solace in my soul," Bowersox said. "I'm just enjoying life."

Like artists of her ilk, she makes most of her money touring and tries her best to achieve work-life balance, especially regarding her son. She'll tour a week or two, then take a week or two off. "When he's in school, I have a nanny," Bowersox said. "When he's not in school, my mom is with him. Grandma gets her time. When I come home, he has mom all to himself."

Bowersox grappled with giving him a cell phone and ultimately gave in so when she's on the road, he can call or text any time. If the timing works, he joins her for some concert dates.

Since "Idol" in 2010, when she was living in Chicago, she moved to Portland for three years, then after her divorce, she spent time in her home state of Ohio. Two years ago, she decided to try out Nashville, a popular place for many "Idol" alums. "I don't think I'm going to be moving for quite some time," she said. "It feels like a community. It feels like everybody is rooting for each other. It's competitive but supportive, too."

Plus, there's plenty of nature hikes and waterfalls. Anyone who saw "Idol" knew she was an outdoorsy type who had grown up on a farm as a kid. "I need to sleep in the woods every now and then," she said.

Bowersox also said she stopped drinking when she came to Nashville.

"I feel like a different gal and am fully living for the first time in my life," she said. "I'll be 32 in August. It's just all good finding things that make me fully alive, friends and family and the little things that give me joy like my cup of coffee in the morning and taking in a big full breath of fresh air."

Not surprisingly, "Idol" is a part of her past but not really part of her life today. She didn't change her touring schedule to accommodate the Fox series finale last year. She hardly watches TV, barely keeps up with the goings on concerning ABC picking the show back up. ("I don't have any opinion about it," she said.)

"I'm a sensitive creature," Bowersox said. "I don't want to invite a lot of drama in my home. I try to minimize it when I can."

Her philosophy: " 'Idol' is something that happened in my life. It was monumental. I'm grateful but now I'm trying to just make great music and play for my fans."

Also: "I'm not trying to be anybody but me. I'm not comparing my career to anybody else's. I don't measure success by numbers or monetary figures. I'm doing what I love and making a living. That's all that matters."

And while many of her existing fans have been around going back to "Idol," she also picks up plenty of newbies along the way. She does a basic poll at various concerts and says it's a "beautiful thing" when so many raise their hands to say they're seeing her for the first time.

One fan came up to her after a concert and said her music saved her life and helped her get through a rough patch in life. "That's heavy stuff," Bowersox said. "I feel honored. I know how hard people work and to spend their money to see me, by golly, that's something to be super grateful."

Inevitably, we talk diabetes, since we are have Type 1 and use insulin pumps. She used to work with OneTouch and did an ad with the blues great B.B. King. She now has partnered with Eli Lilly, which makes insulin. They send her out to camps for diabetic kids. "I was a camper as a kid," she said. "It was the only place I didn't feel completely isolated and alone. It's beautiful to go back and talk to these kids."

She always struck me as an old soul  and remains very much an album person at a time when downloads and monthly subscriptions dominate.

"I'm an independent artist releasing my records on my Mamasox Records," she told me. "I am still an album kind of gal. I don't have anything against Spotify but I'm technologically challenged. I still buy albums. If I like a song, I'll buy the artist's album. I don't do CDs so much as I do vinyl an digital. My fans like to buy CDs thankfully. And vinyl. My next album will be available on vinyl."

She is not only a fan of vinyl but thrilled to see independent record stores thriving again. She and her band seeks out indie stores whenever they hit a new city. "I like to have something tangible in my hand where I can admire the artwork," she said.


NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 07: Jada Pinkett Smith (R) presents Carrie Underwood (L) with the award for Female Video of the Year onstage during the 2017 CMT Music Awards at the Music City Center on June 6, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for CMT)

Carrie Underwood won two more CMT Awards last night, increasing her total to 17, more than any other artist.

She took home one for Female Video of the Year (“Church Bells”) and the other for her duet with Keith Urban (“The Fighter”).


HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Recording artists Katharine McPhee (L) and Casey James perform onstage during FOX's "American Idol" Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Season 9 country singer Casey James has signed with APA Nashville, according to The Hollywood Reporter . He finished in third place in 2010. The Texas native will independently release album "Strip it Down" this Friday.


HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 07: Singer James Durbin attends FOX's "American Idol" Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre on April 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

James Durbin (fourth place, season 10), now the new lead singer for Quiet Riot, will be helming a new Quiet Riot album out August 4 called "Road Rage." The band re-recorded the album after releasing Seann Nicols as lead.

The tour is not coming to Atlanta. Upcoming dates:

Jun 11 ... Farmington Hills, MI Tickets & More
Jun 16 Old Capital Tavern Sauk Rapids, MN Tickets & More
Jun 17 Old Capital Tavern Sauk Rapids, MN Tickets & More
Jun 23 Phase 2 Lynchburg, VA Tickets & More
Jun 24 Downtown Big Spring, TX Tickets & More
Jun 30 Paragon Casino Resort Marksville, LA Tickets & More
Jul 01 Sundown Salute Junction City, KS Tickets & More
Jul 07 Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Santa Cruz, CA Tickets & More
Jul 15 The Horny Toad Lake Ozark, MO Tickets & More
Jul 21 Golden Nugget Casino Las Vegas, NV Tickets & More
Aug 11 Texan Theater Greenville, TX Tickets & More
Aug 12 Maude Cobb Event Center Longview, TX Tickets & More
Aug 18 Chase County Fair & Expo Imperial, NE Tickets & More
Aug 25 Jam At The Ridge Le Roy, NY Tickets & More
Aug 26 CRUISERS STATELINE Post Falls, ID Tickets & More
Sep 01 FLEET WEEK 2017 Albuquerque, NM Tickets & More
Sep 02 The Muse Wilmington, NC Tickets & More
Sep 07 Penn's Peak Jim Thorpe, PA Tickets & More
Sep 09 Arcada Theatre Saint Charles, IL Tickets & More
Sep 15 BLACKTHORN RESORT Durham, NY Tickets & More
Sep 21 Arcada Theatre Setor Charles, IL Tickets & More
Sep 23 SOUTHWIND CASINO Newkirk, OK Tickets & More
Oct 28 ROCK THE PARK FESTIVAL Brownsville, TX Tickets & More
Oct 29 THE AVANTI’S DOME Pekin, IL Tickets & More
Nov 04 CB Smith Park Pembroke Pines, FL Tickets & More
Nov 18 Whisky A Go Go West Hollywood, CA Tickets & More
Feb 16, 2018 ROCK LEGENDS CRUISE 6 Fort Lauderdale, FL


NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 07: Reba McEntire (R) presents Lauren Alaina (L) with the Breakthrough Video of the Year award onstage during the 2017 CMT Music Awards at the Music City Center on June 6, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)

Georgia's season 10 runner up Lauren Alaina won CMT's Breakthrough Video of the Year award last night for her single "Road Less Traveled" hit No. 1 earlier this year.

“I’m not good at this! I don’t know what to do,” she said. Then she added: “Reba McEntire just gave me an award, so that’s pretty crazy!"


Season 9's Katie Stevens is starring in a new series on Freeform called "The Bold Type" after three seasons of "Faking It' on MTV.

It's about 20-somethings working at a women's magazine.

Unfortunately, this amorphous, somewhat incoherent trailer below tells me almost nothing about the show.  Good job, Free Form!


Postmodern Jukebox uses a lot of guest vocalists and has had a soft heart for "American Idol" contestants. Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams have toured with them. Now Vonzell Solomon (third place, season four) has joined in. She picks a rather odd song, Smash Mouth's "All Star." Really? I guess that's a step up from "Mambo No. 5."

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.