Like Jessica over at A Sweet Life, I have to say that Crystal Bowersox is hands-down my favorite American Idol contestant this year, and not just because she has diabetes. She's just cool. She wears dreadlocks, and plays guitar. People call her "Mama Sox" because she has a one-year-old son. (They call her "Mama" and she's only freakin' 24 — geez!) Anyway, the girl can SING.
I mean she can sing like Janis Joplin — as well as Pink does, according to the most hard-ass judge, Simon. Wow. Her voice is powerful and smooth, and you just wanna keep listening.
I'm pretty darn sure these are all the reasons that I hope she wins. But yes, she also has the 'betes. The media reactions have been mixed. On the one hand, there's been a lot of chatter about her "not complaining" about it, even when she was hospitalized for DKA early in the season (she was back the very next night, singing her heart out!)
As Leighann of D-Mom Blog points out, a Google search for "Crystal Bowersox diabetes" will produce lots of headlines containing the words "ailing" and "suffers." Grrrr.
Some of the reports note that Crystal's being "very quiet" about her diabetes. I disagree. I think she's treating it like a natural part of her life, rather than a really big deal. Good for her!
Who caught the snippet on last week's show where Crystal was rehearsing with mentor Harry Connick Jr? She stops to push buttons on a gadget, and he quips: "You got some place to be?"
"Naw, my insulin pump's just yelling at me," she answers.
I love her attitude. And I absolutely LOVE that the Idol producers showed that outtake.
What I hated is the way the media referred to this as "an awkward incident with Crystal's insulin pump." Hooey! Landing in the hospital was awkward. Working your pump when you need to and showing it in such a "normal" context on national television is cool. It's better than any orchestrated campaign for "diabetes awareness," IMHO.
The Idol folks never showed or mentioned the slightest clue a few years ago when another type 1 diabetic, Elliott Yamin, made it to the finals. He is a pumper too, and has since become a very active advocate and donor to the cause.
Crystal isn't waiting for the afterglow to air her diabetes. She recently got a tattoo on her wrist with the words "Type 1 diabetic" written down the middle (that gadfly on her left wrist in the picture below). You go, Girl!
I'm guessing that Leighann is not an Idol fan, since she tells me she wasn't aware of an Idol contestant with diabetes until I tweeted about it. She quickly tweeted me back, saying:
"My daughter wants to be a singer/dancer when she grows up (among other things). Is she a good role model?"
Err, that depends. The media point out that Crystal's "not exactly your typical ... girl next door" with her "ratty hair" and her "image... of a hippie busker straight off the streets."
Are you bothered by dreadlocks, piercings and tattoos? (Crystal also has a huge sun tattoo on her back). Or is that a non-issue as long as the person is decent, and obviously not letting diabetes stand in the way of their dreams?
I have three daughters myself, none of whom are musically gifted, or have diabetes. But if they did, I'd be encouraging them to put up Bowersox posters in their rooms, for sure. Here's somebody who is unequivocally doing her own thing — dressing and living and pursuing her dreams the way she wants to — despite the stupid diabetes.