Scotty fans pack RBC Center for 'Idol' finale

Posted May 25, 2011 1:02 p.m. EDT
Updated May 25, 2011 9:42 p.m. EDT

— More than 8,000 fans of Garner's country crooner Scotty McCreery crowded the RBC Center in Raleigh Wednesday night to find out if he won "American Idol."

"Scotty is from North Carolina. We've got to support our own," fan Dan Look said.

McCreery has drawn strong hometown support as he's gone from a high school baseball player and grocery bagger to a finalist on the national TV singing competition.

"I've known him since the eighth grade. He's a very good singer, and I'm proud of him," fan Briana Wells said.

Each week, faithful fans have watched, cheered and voted for him from Garner Magnet High School.

This week's viewing party was moved to the RBC Center, which will have 19,000 seats available. RBC Center officials estimated that 10,000 to 12,000 people would come, based on the attendance at a viewing party for "Idol" finalist Clay Aiken in 2003.

Fans at the viewing party will get their own shot at being on national TV. Live footage from the event will be shown on the "Idol" results show.

But all eyes will be on the high-definition video board in the center of the RBC Center as fans wait to find out if McCreery has bested fellow finalist Lauren Alaina.

"Idol" viewers cast a record 122 million votes Tuesday night after McCreery sang Montgomery Gentry's "Gone," George Straight's "Check Yes or No" and "I Love You This Much," which would be his first single if he wins. Alaina, a 16-year-old cheerleader from Rossville, Ga., fought a strained vocal chord to take on Carrie Underwood's "Flat on the Floor," Pam Tillis' "Maybe It Was Memphis" and her potential single "Like My Mother Does."

McCreery's father, Mike, said he fell asleep with the phone in his hand, still trying to vote until the last second.

"We're always nervous going into elimination night. What happens, happens," Mike McCreery said.

His son echoed those feelings to WRAL News right after the show Tuesday.

"We went out there and gave it our best. It's in America's hands now," McCreery said.