Crystal Bowersox

For her acting debut on Body of Proof, Crystal Bowersox says fans will be surprised, but not necessarily because she's playing a character with a rap sheet or acting opposite famous series star Dana Delany.

"I think the mug shot is the gnarliest of all," she tells TVGuide.com. "I took the mug shot myself in a hotel in New Jersey so I'm pretty proud of that."

Fans will meet the rougher and tougher side of American Idol's Season 9 runner-up when she guest-stars on Tuesday's episode (airing at 10/9c on ABC) as Zoe Brant, a woman serving 4-7 years behind bars for assaulting her drug dealer. Zoe comes under some intense questioning by Megan Hunt (Delany) and Det. Bud Morris (John Carroll Lynch) because they suspect she may not be over her anger issues after the woman in charge of her therapy group is killed.

Battlestar's Jamie Bamber heads to Body of Proof

Bowersox admits to some pre-show jitters after producers offered her the role, but was able to find common ground between singing and acting during her preparation for the part. "The way that I memorize songs is writing it out over and over and going through it on paper and learning it word-by-word, so I did the same thing with the script," she says. "Finding the emotion to feel the character and make it real, that's something I do every time I perform — I have to find that emotion that I had when I wrote the song and bring it to the surface every time I sing it and then be able to put it away when I'm done. In some ways, it was a similar process, but I was pretty insecure."

In addition to the obvious differences between the mild-mannered 26-year-old and her temperamental character, there were some similarities between the two women that made her role less daunting."She's a young mother as well. Her daughter is about 6 or 7, and she's in jail so she doesn't get to see her daughter," says Bowersox, mother to 2-year-old Tony. "There are a lot of things in this character that I could relate with. It wasn't easy, but it felt like a good fit."

Watch music videos of Crystal Bowersox

At times, Bowersox says she had a little too much trouble telling apart fact from fiction. "It felt very real," she says. "Dana and John are intense actors and so when I was being interrogated, I felt guilty and didn't know why."

Get a sneak peek at Bowersox's intense on-screen interrogation here:

Despite her lengthy run on Idol and her Body of Proof gig, Bowersox's busy schedule as a mother, wife and performer keep her from becoming an avid TV watcher. "I didn't keep up with the singing competitions before I was on Idol and now, I'm working and I have a young son so we're watching Sesame Street," she says. "I can't do it now, especially after having been through it. I get so nervous for people that I have to turn it off."

Watch full episodes of Body of Proof

Bowersox is also keeping busy with her music career. She's currently writing and hopes to be in the studio this winter in time for a spring or summer release. [Note: This interview took place before news broke that Bowersox and her label had parted ways]. "I don't want it to sound as processed and clean and perfect. I want it to sound more on the indie acoustic side of things; that's where my heart really is and that's what kind of artist I am," she says of her follow-up to last year's Farmer's Daughter. "I'm looking forward to working with some great names on the next album and still maintaining creative control."

Music will continue to be her top priority, but Bowersox isn't ruling acting out after her positive experience on Body of Proof. "It was fun to get to be someone else for a minute. It's something I might not actively pursue, but if I'm approached and someone says, 'We think you'd be great for this,' then I'd love to do it," she says. "It's definitely a cool thing to put on my resume."