Sunday, April 11, 2010

Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze talk about bringing didgeridoo and bagpipes to the American Idol stage

It was “Take Your Unusual Instruments to Idol Night” as the top 9 covered the Lennon-McCartney songbook last night. And so we caught up with Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze after the show to get the inside scoop of their decisions to use didgeridoo and bagpipes on their respective covers of Beatles songs “Come Together” and “Hey Jude.”

“I was outside one day, and I was humming ['Come Together'] in my head, like, [hums a low note, then sings] lowwww didgeridooo. It was cool,” says Crystal, who explained that Ernie Fields Jr., who works with Rickey Minor and the band, decided to buy a didgeridoo, take a lesson, and play the instrument himself instead of contracting an outside musician to do it. “He is an amazing person,” said Crystal.

Lee gave us a slightly more rambling explanation of his arrangement, so let’s roll the tape: “I’m from Chicago, and so there’s bagpipes everywhere, all the festivals. I love it. And when I was listening to ['Hey Jude'], I wanted to change up the song without changing up the song too much, you know? So I was like, ‘Hey, you know, a bagpipe would be kinda cool on here.’ So they brought it in, I loved it.”

Of course, had he ended up with a different Beatles number, the bagpipes wouldn’t have had their moment, says Lee. They were “specifically for ‘Hey Jude,’” he explains. ” At some point you’ve gotta have fun with it, too. So you get up there, and you don’t want to be stiff and all scared like I have been in the past. I get nervous and the confidence isn’t there. I was like, ‘You know what? I’m just gonna have fun with it from here on out.’ So I was like, ‘Bagpipe? Why not?’”

–Reporting by Whitney Pastorek for

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