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Will Crystal Bowersox’ Hospitalization Get American Idol Sympathy Vote?

It’s not as if it hasn’t happened before and American Idol has had no problem throughout its history of cashing in on a very sympathetic backstory (remember last season’s Danny Gokey?), but Tuesday evening’s performances of the American Idol Top 10 girls became the performances of the Top 10 guys because Crystal Bowersox had been hospitalized earlier and could not compete by showtime.  American Idol host Ryan Seacrest would only say that Crystal Bowersox had been hospitalized — giving no elaboration – when the show started, and, by afternoon Wednesday, it was still unclear what caused the 24-year-old to need medical treatment (although it is believed to be diabetes related). 

And it isn’t clear whether or not Crystal Bowersox will be able to perform by showtime Wednesday evening, either.  Producers of the show are wrestling over what do if she is unable to take the stage.  

American Idol executive producer Ken Warwick told Ryan Seacrest on his morning radio show on KIIS-FM that it was still unclear whether or not Crystal Bowersox would be ready to go at 8 p.m. EST (5 p.m. PST).  He told Ryan that several options were being considered should Crystal’s doctor advise her not to perform. 

One of those options, of course, is outright dismissal from the program.  That would set the Top 10 girls up to cut only one contestant this week on Thursday evening’s results show. 

But Warwick said that producers were also considering allowing American Idol viewers to vote on Crystal Bowersox by letting her compete through her rehearsal footage. 

But if the latter option is selected, would it give the mother of one enough of an advantage through the sympathy vote?  Or would there be an opposite reaction, where viewers voted against her (i.e., for someone else) simply because they were afraid of the sympathy vote?  Or would the two vying sentiments cancel each other? 

However, the consideration of those options may prove to be unnecessary if Crystal Bowersox performs as rescheduled.  The Ohio native has been an American Idol judges favorite throughout the competition and looks poised to make the hallowed Top 12.   In the interest of fairness to Crystal Bowersox, it would be a shame that she get booted from the show on a technicality — but the show is a live performance show and her dismissal because of inability to perform just might become the case.  But if it is not clearly stated in the rules of the competition, there doesn’t seem to be any overriding reason not to allow her rehearsal footage to stand in her stead.

Of course, if someone other than Crystal Bowersox gets cut on Thursday’s results show, it is doubtful they will feel that any fairness was served.  And is there any doubt that the girls getting the axe will point to the sympathy vote factor coming into play? 

So, when will we know?  Apparently Fox Television and American Idol will keep it under wraps up until they go live from Hollywood Wednesday evening.

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