'American Idol' producer on ailing Crystal Bowersox: 'We don't know how bad it is'

American Idol producers have yet to make a final decision regarding the fate of ailing season 9 semifinalist Crystal Bowersox, whose medical issues resulted in a last-minute swap that has the show’s remaining female semifinalists performing tonight, instead of yesterday, as originally scheduled. “The doctors are meeting at this moment – this morning – and will make a decision a bit little later on in the day,” Idol executive producer Ken Warwick explained in an interview on Ryan Seacrest’s Los Angeles-based radio show a little while ago. “She did have a condition that we know about, but how bad it is yet, we still don’t know.” A Fox spokesperson declined comment on Bowersox’s status; a call to 19 Entertainment was not immediately returned.

After the jump, the transcript of Seacrest’s Q&A with Warwick. (Audio here.) –Additional reporting by Sandra Gonzalez

Ryan Seacrest: What happened?
Ken Warwick: Actually I was in the shower about 8 o’clock yesterday morning and I suddenly got the phone call that Crystal had been taken to hospital and I thought “Yeah, is she going to be okay? What’s the problem?” And I found out actually within an hour that it was worse than we expected, and she was going to be in the hospital all day. And then we had a decision to make as to whether or not we were going to try to put the show together without her, what the fan issues would be. Could we take maybe a pre-recording she’d made in rehearsal that we could package together so people could vote? Could I show one from last week and get people to vote? Or was that it for her, which normally is the situation. If you’re in the Olympics and you’re going for the semifinal for the final, if you don’t turn up…

Seacrest: Then you’re out.
Warwick: …you don’t go straight through to the final. So it was a difficult decision to make. We came to the conclusion really that the fairest thing to do overall – because I’ve got three of four other girls who got sniffles and the flu – that if the boys were okay with it, we put the boys on [yesterday] and the girls on tonight.

Seacrest: Can you talk about what she has or what happened to her?
Warwick: We’re not really sure yet, Ryan. She did have a condition that we know about, but how bad it is yet, we still don’t know. The doctors are meeting at this moment – this morning – and will make a decision a bit little later on in the day.

Seacrest: At this moment you don’t know if she’s going to be in or out, but you could find out at any moment?
Warwick: I hopefully will know by midday, but not until then.

Seacrest: What happens then? God forbid she’s out of the competition. What do we do?
Warwick: If she’s out of the competition, it would probably be that we only eliminate one girl this week.

Seacrest: So eliminate one on Thursday night. A tough thing because you’re in a competition like this and then all of the sudden something happens that’s maybe out of your control…
Warwick: You go through all your life singing, hoping, waiting for your break, then this comes along and it will go sour, which is an awful shame.


Comments (117 total) Add your comment
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  • elena

    What, exactly, is Bowersox’s previously disclosed medical condition? This is like an episode of Lost!

    • Nshi

      Diabetes that is not properly controlled can lead to periodontal (gum) diseases in both young and old people. Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums and bone that hold the teeth in place.

      • HugoChavez

        Yikes! That’s pretty nasty. Even if Boxersocks couldn’t prevent diabetes, couldn’t she control it or control the periodontal disease?

      • Meli

        HugoChavez–Diabetes can be affected by stress, both physical and emotional. It can mess up your blood sugar if you don’t get enough sleep or eat at the same time every day. If it is a diabetic problem, there’s no knowing what brought it on.

      • Sally in Chicago

        Meli is correct. If this AI schedule is stressful — and we’ve been told many times by the ex-AIers that it is very hectic and you’re going all the time, 24/7, with promos, commercials, press meetings, rehearsals, then she wouldn’t be in a condition to keep up with that pace; although it didn’t effect Elliot.
        However, we don’t know what or how she was caring for herself before Idol. She looks like the hippy type to me, and maybe she’s into herbs and supplements; who knows? This would have been a blessing for her, because she would make a lot of money.

      • EEKstl

        I’m sure she wasn’t rushed to the hospital with gum disease! She’s had juvinile diabetes since the age of 6 and has been struggling with it her whole life. Often blood sugar issues can be directly affected by stress, perhaps not taking as good care of herself since she’s probably got an incredibly full schedule, maybe not eating right…no question AI is a whirlwind and there isn’t a lot of time to take care of yourself, she probably just got run down and the diabetes pounced. Hopefully she won’t be disqualified because she’s too ill to perform tonight – she’s very talented and this is a huge break for her of course!

      • elena

        could you tell me where you read this? it would totally make sense if that is the case, though.

      • Bob

        Elliott Yamin has type 1 Diabetes. He managed to get through the season, though it’s probably a lot harder being a single mother plus I think there are more demands on the contestants time than there were in season 5. They now have to record their songs for iTunes and for awhile, they had to twitter and update Facebook.

      • Nshi
    • JDD

      Except you are far more likely to actually get an answer to this mystery.

      • bds

        LOST is answering tons of questions lately. Of course snobs who don’t watch it saying they’re too good for the show always “assume” that it never does. *rolleyes*

    • darclyte

      The better solution would be to have the gals perform tonight and if Crystal can’t due to her health issues, then don’t eliminate any of the gals this week, let her come back next week, and eliminate 4 gals then. Eliminating her because of a health issue that could be controlled by next week and for the rest of the season seems wildly unfair. I’d say the same thing if it was Tim Urban.

    • darclyte

      It appears the she, like Elliott Yamin, has Type 1 diabetes. AI can NOT disclose her health issues unless she gives them (written) permission. Her health issues are private and ONLY she can disclose them should she wish to do so. It is ILLEGAL for AI or the hospital to discuss her medical situation without her expressed (and most likely written) consent.

    • darclyte

      If she has to drop out, someone should put both Michael Slezak and the producer of Idolatry (Jason?) on suicide watch.

    • Tarc

      Due to HIPAA (medical information protection laws), no one is able to provide medical information on Mowersox’s behalf (at least without express permission) – as it should be. Everyone should be thankful for these protections. It’s really none of our business. Hopefully Bowersox will be well enough to perform tonight, as I think she has a real shot at winning.

  • Mothra

    Yeah, it’s weird that their playing it so cagey, so close to the vest. As much as I like her, it’s hard to argue that if you don’t show up to the starting gate, you’re out. Maybe a free pass for next year’s top 24 as a consolation prize?

    • Pookie

      That’s the way to do it. She’s automatically in next year’s top 24. No being able to continue would be a tough break. She has a good chance this year.

      • Laura K.

        I doubt they’d give her an automatic pass to the top 24. It’s technically against the rules for anyone to be allowed to audition again after making it this far. The farthest I think they’d bend it would be to pass her through to Hollywood Week. But hopefully it doesn’t come to that and Crystal can continue with the competition.

      • llevinso

        You can’t be in the Top 24 one year after ALREADY making it into the Top 24 another year.

      • CO

        If they do what they did with Billy Bell who got mono at the start of So You Think You Can Dance this fall, same producers same network so it would make sense, I think it’s a pass straight to Hollywood for the next season, but not guaranteed top however many…

      • Fatima

        llevinso – That’s the general rule but this is a different circumstance. She might have to be out of the show not because of lack of votes or disqualification. I bet the producers would bend the rules if it comes down to that.

    • KWise

      It’s not weird that they’re playing it so cagey – it’s a personal HEALTH issue, for heavens sake. It’s private. Her health status is none of our business. I agree with your idea though – free pass to top 24 next year….

      • Dream Out Loud

        Just keep her on the ballot tonight. People can vote for 90 seconds of her silence or that hideous monster Haeley. my money is on Mamsox staying in that scenario.

    • Beth

      I have no problem with the switch they made last week. Thing is it might happen again and then they will have tougher decisions to make. Long term: can this girl even be in the music industry if her disease is this serious? I mean if she can’t handle this stuff…I would think it’s going to get a lot tougher on her if she “made it”.

  • mostboringseasonever

    She has diabetes.

  • kt

    NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I’m really hoping it’s not as bad as they make it sound and it’s some sort of publicity stunt. I just hope she’s ok! Bow-er-sox!

    • Diabetes Mom

      Type 1 (which I believe Crystal has) diabetes is an extremely difficult disease to manage. It is VERY different in each person. Having a child who was dx’d with type 1 in 2002, it’s a daily battle of trying to manage this disease. It’s not all about food and exercise, although that is part of the factor. My guess is that she had high sugars and went into (or close to) DKA, which is life threatening. I’ve read that she wears an insulin pump. Although pumps are fantastic, and my daughter wears one, they can malfunction and within literally hours a person can be in danger. My hope is that she goes far and brings awareness to this crazy disease that is so often confused with type 2 diabetes. PS – Elliot is not the only AI finialist with type 1…”Chicken Little” is too and has attended a couple Children with Diabetes conferences.

  • Brandon

    Judges save, anyone?

    • XSEDrake


    • Stacy

      THIS. Too bad it’s not the top 12 yet… If she donesn’t make it, I don’t quite know who to root for this season. Get better, Mamasox!

  • Ralph

    If she can’t sing tonight, perhaps they can cut one female on Thursday, and if she can go next week they can cut three females to get to six.

    While it is life, it would stink to lose everything because of a medical issue, and not because the public decided you needed to go.

  • marshall

    Diabetes is what I heard.

  • Sue

    On DWTS, they showed footage of a rehearsal for the public to vote on when a dancer was out with an injury. If they have footage of Crystal’s rehearsal, they could show that and give her at least a week to recover. This is such a big opportunity for her. I’d hate to see her disqualified for her disability.

    • 6nnnnnns

      I completely agree – give the audience a chance to vote based on her rehearsal footage, and if she’s out all week, well, then, she’s out. They did this on So You Think You Can Dance too.

  • crispy

    Why are they being so coy about her condition? It’s just diabetes. It’s not like she’s having a herpes breakout.

    • Kathy

      I’m guessing medical confidentiality may affect their ability to discuss exactly what’s going on… at least until consent is given.

    • Michelle

      Because of privacy & HIPAA laws, I’m sure.

      • jslost


    • mike

      ???????????? What kind of a moron says “it’s only diabetes!!!????”

      Obviously you don’t know anyone who lives with type 1 diabetes, and the inherent complications.

      For instance,if she has ketoacidosis, something that can easily occur in a high stress and difficult to maintain diet situation, areyou aware that 1 IN 10 CASES ARE FATAL?

      It’s only diabetes indeed…. !

      • KWise

        I think Crispy’s “just diabetes” comment was not meant to minimize diabetes (which is a SERIOUS and life threatening disease, as you correctly state). Rather, I got the impression he/she was trying to say this wasn’t something worth being embarrassed over (a la herpes). That said, someone’s medical status is PRIVATE, whether embarrassing or not. It’s none of our business what’s going on – and the producers are NOT being coy. They’re respecting her privacy.

      • Diggity

        Exactly KWise. I don’t mind people knowing that I had diabetes or something like that- but if I had a raging case of syphillis, I’d rather that not be broadcast on TV.

        I don’t think she was saying diabetes is no biggie.

      • crispy’s guardian

        crispy is a dude that likes other dudes. still a fan, though.

      • crispy

        Mike, you fail at reading comprehension. My point was why are they avoiding mentioning it. Diabetes is not a condition anyone would be embarrassed about. Yes, it’s most likely because of HIPAA.

    • maria

      Just diabetes?? my son is type 1, this is a horrible disease that most of the time is unpredictable, no matter tight of control there is. shame on you,,”Just diabetes”,,a type one can die within hours for no good reason.

  • Terry

    don’t think that would be fair to the others that had to get up on the stage and perform for the audience and tv. I like her, she’s in my top 3, but I don’t see any fair way to do this if she can’t make it.

    • psychoanalyzer

      I agree, Terry. You know, the only reason there’s this much thought and consideration for Bowersox is because she’s a “major contender” for the title. If this were any other Idol contestant, like Todrick or John Park, they’d be out. I do feel for her and I hope she gets well soon. But if she’s not going to perform tonight, they shouldn’t eliminate anyone this week. The whole competition feels like it’s stalling because one person is sick. I liked last year’s Top 36 to Top 12 so much better than this year’s weed out process. Anyhoo…moving on.

  • WolfBear

    Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” had a similar situation last season. Ashleigh De Lello suffered an injury requiring her to go to the hospotal and miss the performance. The producers gave her a week reprieve to see if she could recouperate and return to the competetion….and they allowed the voting audience to decide. She was put up for the vote without a performance and had to garner enough votes to stay. Ashleigh stayed and was able to return. I have a feeling that Bowersox would also obtain enough votes to stay in the competetion.
    For me, Bowersox is one of the few bright spots in this year’s Idol. If she can’t perform this week, I say let the viewers decide.

    • Winona

      I really hope they go this route – it’s the fairest thing to do, in my opinion. And of course, I hope Crystal’s doing better.

    • Toni (@ImStillToni)

      The only thing difference on STYCD is that Ashleigh’s husband Ryan was also on the show and “broke down in tears” begging the public to vote for his wife instead of him cuz it was her dream to make the show. Ashleigh got thru based on pity, not her talent (i still think she’s one of the worst finalists in SYTYCD history). I’m all for using rehersal footage and letting the public vote – let her talent speak for itself. But what if she was also sick during the rehersal footage? You can’t compare pre-injury footage with fottage of a singer performing when they have a medical issue present…I’m more surprised that Crystal has health insurance!

      • Ammu

        You must be blind not to spot Ashleighs talent. It’s ok to say that “she was not a favourite of mine” but to say that she didn’t have talent? Please. Grow up. Just because she didn’t suit your tastebuds she’s not a loser or a bad dancer. Respect other people and their talents instead of being a sourpuss, I’m sure you’d feel much better about yourself if you did.

        (And no, Ash wasn’t my favourite dancer and I don’t know her, but I know enough to understand that if you are put on a show like SYTYCD you sure do have talent!)

      • Tarc

        I can’t agreee about Ashlegh. It took a while for her to win me over, but she very much deserved to be a finalist.

      • Anise

        Guuuuuurl, don’t even. Ashleigh was one of the highlights of last season.

  • Flo-Rida

    I am sick over the thought of Crystal being out of the competition. She’s the most talented contestant this year.

  • Flo-Rida

    I am sick over the thought of Crystal being out of the competition. She’s the most talented contestant this year. I hope she’s OK.

  • Quirky

    Truth is, Crystal seems to have such a big fanbase already that they could just wheel her out on stage in a hospital gurney, she could moan a few notes and she’d still get enough votes to make it to next week.

    • JD

      And she would still sound better than most of her competitors!

      • Dominic

        She’d probably have more stage presence like that also. Frankly, she could be a coma and still command a stage better than half the other girls…

      • Tarc

        *snickers* I’d have to agree with Dominic there.

  • Stan

    Well, they had to do something desperate to drum up some interest in their ho-hum season! It seams nothing is beneath AI! Even pimping out a contestant by using her illness! Wow, that’s so deviously disgusting it’s almost admirable.

    • Ron

      I honestly don’t believe even Idol would stoop that low.

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