Garner teacher reflects on 'Idol' hopeful

Posted February 2, 2011 8:02 p.m. EST
Updated February 3, 2011 5:58 a.m. EST

— The choir teacher of a Garner teen who wowed the judges on "American Idol" said her student is handling his new-found success well. 

Scotty McCreery, 16, of Garner, made his "American Idol" debut last week during the Milwaukee auditions. 

Garner Magnet High School choral director Meredith Clayton said Wednesday that McCreery is still very grounded – even the day after his audition aired. 

"The next day in class, I asked, 'Scotty, how do you feel today? Everybody saw you on national TV last night.' He just said, 'I just feel like Scotty,'" she said. 

While the teen belted out two country hits to earn his ticket to Hollywood, Clayton said he can also sing pop and other genres. 

"What a lot of people don't know is that he's also formally trained, and he can sing classical and choral music very, very well," she said. "He's a bass in our chorus, and he's one of our strongest singers." 

McCreery got an enthusiastic reaction from judge Steven Tyler during his first audition, and Clayton said she was also surprised when her student sang country music. 

"I was blown away. I had no idea he could do that because I was used to him singing choral music for me," she said. "I think his voice is very versatile, which will carry him far." 

Clayton said McCreery's humble nature should carry him far as well. 

"I don't think he takes his gift for granted," she said.