Entertainment

NC celebrates Scotty's 'American Idol' win

Posted May 26, 2011 11:21 a.m. EDT
Updated May 26, 2011 4:28 p.m. EDT

— "American Idol" champion Scotty McCreery's hometown of Garner and his fans across the state celebrated Thursday, the day after he won the national TV singing competition.

"It hasn't sunk in yet. I'm just on top of the world right now. I never would have dreamed this would have happened," said McCreery, a 17-year-old country crooner with a deep voice.

Soon after winning the competition, McCreery's thoughts turned to his hometown in an interview with WRAL News.

"I have to thank all the fans and Garner, North Carolina. All the fans back home, they've been wonderful," he said.

More than 8,000 of those fans cheered loudly at an "Idol" viewing party in the RBC Center in Raleigh Wednesday night.

"I saw the shots of the RBC Center back home, and I was loving every minute of it. I wish they could have seen me just going crazy," McCreery said.

Three of his biggest fans – childhood friends and part of the Blue Crew, a student fan club at Garner Magnet High School – were also at the first viewing parties when fewer than 100 people gathered in Garner to watch McCreery at the start of this season of "American Idol."

"From that to last night at the RBC Center, home of the Wolfpack and the Hurricanes, 8,200 people screaming for McCreery – it doesn't get much better than that," McCreery's friend Colin Perry said.

Perry and McCreery's best friend, Kyle Wiggins, called McCreery late last night. 

"He's (Perry) holding the phone in the air and goes, 'Everybody say hello to your next American Idol Scotty McCreery,'" Wiggins said. "Scotty's yelling and we're yelling. It was awesome to hear Scotty's voice and to know that he still cared." 

Wiggins said McCreery was very excited. He was laughing, yelling and being himself. 

The friends said they hope to spend some time with McCreery before he starts the "American Idol" tour this summer. 

"I hope he gets to really enjoy a final few days with his friends before he becomes the superstar that he is becoming," Wiggins said. 

And the first thing they want to do when McCreery does get home? Go to Bojangles, they said. 

Scotty's school, local businesses celebrate 'Idol' win

Krispy Kreme gave 2,400 donuts to help Garner High students and staff celebrate Thursday.

"I have no anticipation that things are going to come straight down and back to normal. The reality is the kids are going to be excited and the euphoria will be there now through the end of the school year," Garner Magnet principal Drew Cook said. 

Cook said McCreery has been keeping up with his school work while in Los Angeles. He has been taking accelerated English class, writing paper and attending tutoring for three hours each day. 

"It’s also nice to see a concrete example of when somebody has a talent, works really hard and puts all the work in and his dream comes true," Cook said. "Now, I have kids coming up to me in the hallway saying, 'Hey Mr. Cook, I'm going to try out next year,' and already talking about the songs they are going to sing." 

Signs congratulating McCreery decorated businesses, school, apartment complexes and town buildings throughout Garner. 

"We've been excited about it since he first went off, and we've been just thrilled to have him be a part of our office and be part of the whole excitement of the town," said Leah Isadore, who works with McCreery's mother. "This has been great for Garner. We're just so proud."

Garner considers putting Scotty landmarks on map

The Town of Garner said it is considering putting places where McCreery went to school, worked and prayed on a map.

Town spokesman Rick Mercier said a Michigan family went out of its way to stop in Garner on the way home from Myrtle Beach, S.C., at the behest of their teenage daughter. In addition, town officials have heard anecdotal stories of other visitors looking for places where McCreery would hang out.

The map would include Garner Magnet High School, First Baptist Church, the Lowe's Food Store, the Garner Historic Auditorium and Lake Benson Park.