'Idol' viewing parties planned in Garner, Raleigh

Viewing parties to watch "American Idol" finalist and Garner native Scotty McCreery are planned next week in his hometown and Raleigh.

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GARNER, N.C. — Viewing parties to watch "American Idol" finalist and Garner native Scotty McCreery are planned next week in his hometown and Raleigh. 

The Town of Garner will hold a viewing party on Tuesday starting at 7 p.m. at McCreery's high school, Garner Magnet High School, to watch the 17-year-old compete against fellow country crooner Lauren Alaina. T

Big screen televisions and sound system for the party were donated by Traveling Screens.

Garner Magnet High will handle the electricity costs for the event. Custodial employees, faculty and staff from the school are donating their time to help with the event. 

On Wednesday, a viewing party to watch the results show will be held at the RBC Center in Raleigh starting at 7 p.m. 

McCreery advanced to the finals on Thursday after performing "She Believes in Me" by Kenny Rogers, "Amazed" by Lonestar and "Are You Going to Kiss Me or Not?" by Thompson Square the previous night.

Alaina took on Faith Hill’s “Wild One," Band Perry’s "If I Die Young" and Lee Ann Womack’s "I Hope You Dance."

Following Thursday's results show, the contestants did a coin toss to determine the order in which they will perform on Tuesday. McCreery won the coin toss, but deferred to Alaina, who chose to perform second. 

Kyle Wiggins, McCreery's best friend, described the Garner native as "very humble." The two have known each other since McCreery was 4 years old. 

"His morals are still the same. He just happens to be a little bit taller and has a deeper voice," Wiggins said Friday. 

Gary Epperson started teaching McCreery how to play the guitar when he was 9 years old. Even as a child, Epperson said, McCreery had a passion for country music. 

Epperson spent time as a singer-songwriter in Nashville and said he tried to pass along those lessons to McCreery.

"He's going places that I never got to go, but I certainly feel like I helped him get there," Epperson said. 

Epperson's band performed a few songs before McCreery took the stage in Garner Saturday during a special hometown celebration. 

"I don't think there is any doubt he's going to be the next American Idol, and I'm as proud as any parent could be," Epperson said. 

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."

After singing "Your Man," a few times in earlier rounds, it became McCreery's unofficial theme song. Turner even surprised McCreery on stage on Saturday in Garner during a celebration in the teen's honor.

To show support for McCreery, the Raleigh Convention Center changed the lighting of its Shimmer Wall to blue on Thursday. It will stay blue through next week's "Idol" finale. Garner Magnet High's student fan group has been dubbed the "Blue Crew" because of the school's colors.

“Raleigh is proud to show its total support of our neighbor’s favorite son,” Mayor Charles Meeker said in a press release.

"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," McCreery said during an interview with WRAL News in February.


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