Garner teen takes 'Idol' stage

Posted February 16, 2011
Updated February 17, 2011

— When Garner's Scotty McCreery first stepped in front of the "American Idol" judges, he appeared calm and confident. The 17-year-old was anything but. 

"I was a bundle of nerves inside, but I tell you what, in the moment, you're just there," McCreery told WRAL News. 

The Garner Magnet High School student got praise from the judges during his audition in Milwaukee after singing Josh Turner's "Your Man" and Travis Tritt's "Put Some Drive in Your County." 

The decision to sing a song by Tritt was easy after he found out from his mother's co-worker that judge Randy Jackson produced a collection of songs for the country superstar. 

McCreery said he hoped to "butter" up the judges by singing something from Tritt.  His audition was so good that he didn't need to.

Following his performance, judge Steven Tyler let loose a spirited comment that was partially censored. 

"I didn't know what to say when Steven made that little remark. I just kind of stood there and smiled. I had never heard that remark before. It was funny," McCreery said. 

McCreery was handed a golden ticket to Hollywood, where he is currently facing off with talented singers from across the country, all hoping to make it to the top 20. 

The first time he took the stage in Hollywood, McCreery said, he wasn't sure exactly what the judges were saying about his performance because their microphones were turned off. 

"You can't hear what the judges are saying, so you're always kind of left there wondering, you know, 'Did I do good enough? Am I still going to be in it tomorrow?'" he said. 

He finally heard their comments when he saw the show on TV. 

"It's pretty crazy to hear what they were saying, especially after even my initial audition in Milwaukee," he said. "They said, 'He could have a long career,' and Jennifer (Lopez) said, 'He could be legendary.'" 

The Hollywood rounds of the show were filmed earlier this year, and although McCreery knows how he fared there, he can't comment. 

"Out in Hollywood, we were all family," he said. "We know we're kind of against each other, but we don't think that way." 

So far, McCreery said what you see on TV is accurate about what happened in Hollywood – with one exception. During last Thursday's episode, McCreery was shown on camera saying he is from Raleigh, not Garner. 

"I said I was from Raleigh, but I said I was from Garner after that. They just didn't show it. So, I'm sorry, but I'm a Garner boy," he said. 

As a child growing up in Garner, McCreery loved to entertain people. He would pretend to be Elvis and put on shows on the school bus for friends.

McCreery said what makes him unique is that he is normal.

"I've grown up playing baseball. I'm an honor roll student in high school. I'm just a normal kid. There's nothing too big about me," he said.

Baseball is a big part of McCreery's life. He is a pitcher for his high school team. 

"There's no other feeling than getting up there and striking somebody out, walking off the field knowing you've done something good – except for winning 'American Idol,'" he said. 

Garner 'Idol' hopeful talks with WRAL Garner 'Idol' hopeful talks with WRAL

McCreery will find out next week if he has made it to the top 20 on the show. If he has, he will be relying on viewer votes to keep him in the running. 

"Winning 'American Idol' would be great, but just to get into the industry and to be a part of the music industry and be in Nashville and sing with the greats – that's a dream," he said. 

Right now, McCreery is dealing with fame. 

"Coming home, it's been a wild ride. It's getting to that point where going out in public, I'm having to sign autographs and take pictures," he said. "I walked into McDonald's today, and I couldn't get out of there without taking three or four pictures with little girls and signing their receipts or something. But, I mean, it's cool. I appreciate that they feel like they would like to get my autograph."

While he is single, McCreery said he is open to falling in love with "American Idol" judge Jennifer Lopez, who seemed smitten with the teen after his audition. 

"She wants to fall in love with me. That's fine with me. She's beautiful. It's cool," he said. 


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  • Skywatch_NC Feb 21, 2011

    I love Scotty's voice and wish him the very best for a music career! :)

  • Diabolical Feb 18, 2011

    I hope this kid wins, He has the better voice out of all those contestants.

  • Massdaddy Feb 18, 2011

    Scotty is cool, but he keeps singing that same song. Can't wait to see what he has in store for us.

  • j-lo93 Feb 18, 2011

    go scotty~ you are the reason why i'm dvr'ing american idol...would LOVE to see you go all the way!
    (i'm a little partial to your name, too :))

  • BubbaDukeforPresident Feb 18, 2011

    I've sampled the local music and all I can say is - don't try out for American Idol.

    I like Scotty - he's a decent kid. So is the 15 year old. I believe it's his personality as much as his voice that got him this far. Some really good singers were cut because they had the personalities of backup singers rather than that of a star. I'm glad the princess is gone.

    The big black guy that sang "God bless the child" is awesome!

  • kellypratz Feb 17, 2011

    is it just me or does this kid look like Clay Aiken with a crew cut!!

  • Greyhound_Girl Feb 17, 2011

    Oct and YoucantHandle - Yes, Scotty's "group" was cruel and mean to drop JC so late in the evening.

    However, in Scottys' defense, it appeared that he had just joined the group and therefore was not a "founding" member, so they didn't care what he thought. He was indecisive. He never said "get rid of JC" and I could tell that he was uncomfortable when they announced the decision.

    The poor kid had been trying all evening to find a group that wanted him. He was rejected over and over, and it was coming down to the wire for him to find a someone to sing with or not be able to sing at all.

    How would you have acted as a 17 year old: being rejected by your peers, far away from home, tired from travel and sleep deprived, trying to fulfill the dream of a lifetime? Imagine the pressure!

    Had he known that they would bend the rules (as in the case of the NJ princess) and made "groups" of 2, he might have made a different decision.

    Give the kid a break.

  • daydreamer4668 Feb 17, 2011

    when will people stop giving a hoot about this karaoke contest and support real local music!!!!!!!!! makes me so mad!!!!

  • clewis0494 Feb 17, 2011

    Dear Haters,
    First of all, why dont you find someone else to pick on other than a young kid! He is doing what he wants to do, so let him, he aint hurtin you!
    if you dont like him, change the channel!
    Scotty, we wish you all the luck, and you have an amazing voice!

  • down by the pond Feb 17, 2011

    way cool !