Garner 'Idol' thrills in emotional homecoming

Posted May 14, 2011 9:39 a.m. EDT
Updated May 15, 2011 10:01 a.m. EDT

— "American Idol" finalist Scotty McCreery performed for a cheering hometown crowd thousands strong Saturday afternoon in Garner. The performance was Scotty's hometown reward for advancing to the final three in this year's season of "Idol." 

In stops at local radio stations, his high school and his former workplace, McCreery insisted he's the "still the same old kid" who left Garner for Hollywood four months ago.

"It's been a crazy ride so far. I'm glad to be back in Garner, North Carolina," McCreery said. "Southern accents – I'm glad to hear Southern accents."

McCreery, who is parlaying his accent and deep voice into singing success, focuses mostly on country numbers on the show. He did the same Saturday, treating fans to songs from John Michael Montgomery and Montgomery Gentry. 

When the time came for him to perform the song he called his "theme song on the show," Josh Turner's "Your Man," McCreery was joined on stage by the man himself.

McCreery spoke frankly of his faith in God, giving him credit for keeping forecast rain away from Garner's Lake Benson Park for the duration of the celebration.

Wherever McCreery went Saturday, fans lined up for a handshake, a hug or a picture. They credited his eyes, his voice and his Christian faith.

Brenna Bizzell, a 16-year-old from Johnston County, said, “He sings. He has a great attitude, and he loves Jesus.”

“And he’s hot,” chimed in her friend, Alexis Juarez.

He did a round of radio interviews and visited an AT&T store, Garner Magnet High School and Lowes Foods, where he used to work.

"These guys out here, they're the ones putting me through, and I appreciate it," McCreery said.

Click for complete details of Scotty's visit.

He arrived at Lake Benson in a yellow convertible waving, blowing kisses and stopping for autographs along the way.

"It's the biggest thing that’s ever happened in Garner," Mayor Ronnie Williams said.

“He’s our town hero,” exclaimed Larry Langworthy, a 51-year-old father of three who lives near Lake Benson. “He’s a hometown boy. He’s got it going on,” said his wife, Mary Langworthy.

After the concert, the rain caught up with McCreery. He was slated to throw the first pitch at the North Carolina State University baseball game, and he did. But the game was canceled due to rain.

The kid in him came out when McCreery led the team across the tarp in a couple rounds of slip-and-slide.

After all his official appearances, McCreery got a brief rest at his home. He said he was excited because he heard that Bojangles will be catering dinner, with sweet tea and fried chicken.

Then, McCreery headed to prom.

Cheering classmates from Garner Magnet High welcomed him as he slipped in a back door at the Crabtree Marriott hotel.

McCreery's mother, Judy, said that he's done his school work with the help of a tutor and made the honor roll.

'Idols' head to Raleigh on tour 

"American Idol" fans lined up as early as 4 a.m. outside the RBC Center on Friday to buy tickets to the show's tour, which will feature McCreery.

The tour hits Raleigh on July 27.