'Idol' finalist has Puerto Rican roots

Posted May 24, 2011 5:00 a.m. EDT
Updated May 24, 2011 3:06 p.m. EDT

— “American Idol” finalist Scotty McCreery might be from Garner and sing country music, but he’s made no secret of his Puerto Rican roots. He even said in one episode that he has “a little bit of J-Lo in me.”

"When I heard him sing at Clayton Idol, he sounded like Johnny Cash with that deep, deep voice," his grandfather, Bill McCreery, said Monday from his home in Aberdeen. 

Bill McCreery, an airman, met his wife Paquita, in her native Puerto Rico. It was a blind date that turned into 54 years of marriage. 

"He said to me, 'You won't believe this, but I'm going to marry you.' I said, 'You must be drunk or you must be crazy,'" Paquita recalled. 

The couple said their secrets are commitment, happiness and laughter. 

"I have never met anyone in my 79 years with a marriage like ours," Paquita McCreery said. 

Their grandson's new-found success has had an impact on their social lives. They said friends that they haven't spoken to in years have tracked them down. 

"Neighbors we haven't seen in years – 43 years – and they found us through Scotty," Bill McCreery said. 

The couple said they plan to watch Tuesday and Wednesday's "American Idol" episodes from their home. 

In 1987, Bill and Paquita McCreery moved to Moore County from New Hampshire, where he was stationed in the Air Force.