Crystal Bowersox Recovers, Performs, Joins Pantheon Of Modern Musical Lazaruses

Much of the drama entering Wednesday (March 3) night’s “American Idol” telecast centered on the status of Crystal Bowersox, the dreadlocked dynamo who was hospitalized Tuesday morning with complications from diabetes (or, as she calls it, “’Beetus”) and was told by show producers that she needed to perform … or else.

It wasn’t clear until minutes before the show went live whether Bowersox was going to be healthy enough to take the stage, but when she did, she more than delivered the goods, blowing through a soulful take of CCR’s “As Long As I Can See The Light,” wowing the judges and proving that, much like Willis Reed in Game Seven of the 1970 NBA Finals, she wouldn’t let an injury (or an illness) slow her down.

In the process, Bowersox’s heroics placed her in the pantheon of other modern-day musical Lazaruses, artists who cast aside the crutches (metaphoric or otherwise) and rose to the occasion when it mattered most. Here, for your reading pleasure, are just some of those prime-time players. We salute you.

Justin Bieber
Don’t let his diminutive size fool you: Deep inside Bieber beats the heart of a true champion, as evidenced by his heroics late last year when, during a performance at London’s Wembley Theatre, he rolled his ankle and fractured his foot. Not only did he finish the song, he TwitPic’d a photo of his right foot in a cast, and Tweeted that Taylor Swift came to visit him in the emergency room, “because she is awesome.”

The Canadian Cannon initially injured his knee while playing hoops before the 2009 BET Awards (you can take the boy out of Jimmy Brooks, but you can never take the Jimmy Brooks out of the boy,) but decided to perform on the show anyway (albeit seated on a stool). He continued to press on, joining Lil Wayne’s America’s Most Wanted tour, where he took a tumble onstage and torn his ACL and MCL. He’s since gone under the knife, and the scars are a testament to his glory.

Snoop Dogg
While not technically injured, Snoop performed “Murder Was The Case” at the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards while sitting in a wheelchair (it was a pretty powerful considering he was on trial for murder at the time). Backed by a full gospel choir — and a casket — Snoop rose from his chair and delivered an incendiary set, famously proclaiming “I’m innocent” at the end of the song. It was such an amazing performance that the fact that he rediscovered the use of his legs was merely an afterthought.

Kurt Cobain
Wheeled onstage by journalist Everett True (in a nod to rumors of his deteriorating mental health) at the 1992 Reading Festival, Cobain — who was also wearing a long Edgar Winter wig — stood up from his chair, sang a few lines, then collapsed, only to rise again and launch into a now legendary set. A new standard in overcoming adversity, imagined or otherwise.

Rick Allen
He lost his left arm in an automobile accident and continues to play drums for Def Leppard to this day. A true hero. Recipient of the 2010 Lazarus Lifetime Achievement award, which I just made up right now.

Where does Crystal Bowersox’s comeback rank among the best “Idol” moments of all time? Let us know in the comments!

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