Entertainment

Deejays recall Garner 'Idol' contestant's early days

Posted March 1, 2011

— When "American Idol" semi-finalist Scotty McCreery took the stage in Garner last summer for a radio station contest, he was just happy to be singing.

"He was 16 years old and he was out there with his guitar, and you go, 'No way,'" WQDR deejay Janie Carothers, said of hearing the teen's voice for the first time. The country music station hosted the competition "Clayton Idol." 

The reaction to McCreery's voice is universal. 

"When he got off stage, I literally thought to myself, 'If anybody from Nashville hears him sing, it's a done deal,'" WQDR deejay Marty Young said. 

McCreery won "Clayton Idol" and went on to perform for the radio station's hometown tours and events in the area to raise money for sick children. He even performed in the parking lot and the drive-thru at McDonald's during the WQDR hometown tour. 

McCreery has come a long way from that parking lot. 

"I didn't really sing outside of church before I won 'Clayton Idol' but now I'm singing anywhere and everywhere they'll take me," McCreery told WRAL News in February. 

One of those places is the "American Idol" stage, where the 17-year-old is performing each week hoping for America to vote him through to the top 10. 

Locals remember Garner teen before ‘Idol’ Locals remember Garner teen before ‘Idol’

McCreery's "Idol" journey began last year when he auditioned in Milwaukee singing Josh Turner's "Your Man" and Travis Tritt's "Put Some Drive in Your Country."

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

Since appearing on the show, McCreery has cultivated a fan base, including Kaitlyn Hunter and her mother, Dawn. The two have T-shirts showing their support and have attended Garner's "Idol" viewing parties. 

Hunter sang in the Garner High School chorus at the same time as McCreery. She remembers the first time she heard his voice. 

"It was beautiful. Just the tone of his voice was so rich and deep," she said. 

Though McCreery has mainly tackled country music on "Idol," Hunter said he is talented at choral music as well. 

Young agrees. 

"When he starts blowing people away and they go, 'Oh my God, he's not just country,' and that's when everybody's going to realize this kid is for real," he said. 

McCreery's success has inspired Hunter to try out for "Idol" next year. 

A website devoted to McCreery is selling fan T-shirts. Proceeds from the sales are being donated to nonprofit groups he is involved with, such as the Garner High School Trojan Baseball Team, Garner High School Choral Boosters and the First Baptist of Garner youth group.

20 Comments

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  • itsmyownopinion Mar 2, 2:07 p.m.

    Carrie Underwood sings country -- remember her? Even Kellie Pickler, who may have finished fifth (I don't recall) made millions last year. Kelly Clarkson, the first winner of AI has a video out with Jason Aldean which was #1 on the Top 20 Countdown on CMT last week, and she's had a great career since

    winning. There are a number of success stories from AI, I was

    just naming the country stars. Don't get me started on others, I have an appointment to get to.

    Good luck to Scotty. I voted last night until it probably became illegal. I thought you could only vote 20 times, but I

    voted more than that.

  • gopack07 Mar 2, 2:02 p.m.

    Pop music is actually short for popular music so nothing can really outlast it when you think about it.

    Anyway, I think Scotty is very talented; however, I don't see him winning American Idol, but maybe I haven't seen his range of talent in different genres yet. Regardless, I think someone in country music is going to sign him. I would be surprised if they don't.

  • IAMAmerican Mar 2, 12:33 p.m.

    Aren't you just the pot calling the kettle black with your statement "Country will certainly outlast anything Pop right now". You must obviously be jealous of pop music....or speaking from stupidity.

    OGE

    This made absolutely no sense but I guess I have to consider where it came from............LOL

  • OGE Mar 2, 10:57 a.m.

    Country will certainly outlast anything Pop right now............Scotty extremely smart, a good kid and his parents should be so proud of him, they've done a wonderful job raising him. Now if every kid were this good, it would certainly be a different country! Any negative comments can only be jealousy or stupidity!!!!

    TrueBlueRep

    Aren't you just the pot calling the kettle black with your statement "Country will certainly outlast anything Pop right now". You must obviously be jealous of pop music....or speaking from stupidity.

  • freddie cadetti 72 Mar 2, 10:48 a.m.

    The national audience voting is always a scam. You take a so so singer who lives in a major market area and people mass vote over and over. It's like when Clay lost to the no name black guy.

  • lifesabeachnc Mar 2, 10:43 a.m.

    Scotty is really a favorite of mine. My husband and I are really impressed with his deep voice, he was just made for this. I think both him and James will make it extremely far in this competition. I cannot even believe how young he is though, he is extremely talented!

  • CarolinaGirlRJA Mar 2, 10:39 a.m.

    kjackson -- if you're going to hate, at least take the time to read the headline more carefully. Early DAYS!

    @TrueBlueRep -- I'd say kjackson landed themselves in the stupidity category rather than jealousy.

    GO SCOTTY!

  • IAMAmerican Mar 2, 10:24 a.m.

    Country will certainly outlast anything Pop right now............Scotty extremely smart, a good kid and his parents should be so proud of him, they've done a wonderful

    job raising him. Now if every kid were this good, it would certainly be a different country! Any negative comments can

    only be jealousy or stupidity!!!!

  • IAMAmerican Mar 2, 10:21 a.m.

    early years? American idol is a joke

    kjackson47

    Yeah, I guess you're right, that's why it's one of the most popular shows on T.V. and the contestants? They're laughing all the way to the bank!!!! Sounds like Jealousy!!!! LOL

  • JoCoFootballMom Mar 2, 10:03 a.m.

    He did a great job!!! I am proud to have him representing NC.

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