The “American Idol” finalist Crystal Bowersox said she almost lost her source of income after auditions.
She said she started playing local gigs under an alias to earn money to support her family.
Other “Idol” finalists had to sacrifice jobs and schooling for their chance on the show.
Crystal Bowersox, an “American Idol” season-nine finalist, said the show told her to stop performing local gigs for several months — but that she broke the rules because she was experiencing “borderline homelessness.”
Speaking with Insider ahead of the Fox-ABC show’s 20th anniversary, the runner-up said she was told not to take outside performing jobs between auditions in summer 2009 and Hollywood Week in January 2010 so she could keep her spot on the show a secret.
“Telling me that I couldn’t perform? That was my sole source of income,” she said.
As a 24-year-old mother to a newborn, she relied on local gigs to bring in cash, so she “went into hiding under another name” to continue performing for money, she said.
Bowersox told Insider she “had zero experience in the music industry or in the legalities of it,” which made the experience more frustrating.
“They tell you you’re not supposed to perform or tell anyone. Your family has to sign contracts, nondisclosure agreements,” she said.
Even though news of her undercover gigs “ended up getting around anyway,” Bowersox said, she avoided getting disqualified.
Bowersox was hesitant to audition for the show in the first place, but she won over judges and viewers
Bowersox told Insider she resisted trying out for the show because the idea of ”pitting people against each other” in a music competition always struck her as strange.
But, eventually, the singer said her “pride had to be swallowed” so she could provide for her family.
“I was camping out at my dad’s house on the living-room floor, and playing the $50 bar gigs wasn’t going to cut it while caring for my child,” she said.
Bowersox made the five-hour drive from Illinois to Ohio with her son in tow to audition for season nine.
She charmed the judges with a rendition of Erma Franklin’s “Piece of My Heart,” earned a ticket to Hollywood, and placed second behind Lee DeWyze.
Other ‘Idol’ contestants also made sacrifices to be on the show
David Cook, the season-seven winner of “American Idol,” said he was also placed in a difficult situation before Hollywood Week.
He received a job offer he’d been waiting for, and even though he wanted to take the position, he had to choose between the show and the job.
He chose “Idol” and hoped for the best because he said he had “to see this through.”
Season 16’s winner, Maddie Poppe, had to take a few days off her first semester of college to audition. But she said it became much harder to keep up with her schoolwork once Hollywood Week began.
“I was just like, ‘I got to take the leap of faith and believe in myself,'” Poppe told Insider. “So I dropped out.”
Representatives for “American Idol” did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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