How Scotty McCreery won 'American Idol'
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- From that initial moment when Scotty McCreery stepped in front of the "American Idol" judges and bellowed "lock the doors and turn the lights down low" in his deep-beyond-his-year s register, the fresh-faced country crooner captured everyone's attention and he never let it go.
McCreery, a 17-year-old high school student from Garner, N.C., won the "American Idol" title on Wednesday night after performing nearly flawlessly throughout the 10th season of the Fox talent competition.
And he did it with an unwavering commitment to country music — even when challenged with other genres. During the show's installment of Elton John tunes, McCreery uncovered John's "Country Comfort" and made it his own.
"You have amazing instincts about performing and about what's right for you," judge Jennifer Lopez told him afterward.
Armed with an unflappable aw-shucks attitude and genuinely goofy grin, McCreery managed to outlast an array of more seasoned and outgoing finalists, such as eccentric 20-year-old jazz lover Casey Abrams of Idyllwild, Calif., wailing 22-year-old rocker James Durbin of Santa Cruz, Calif., and sultry 20-year-old vocalist Haley Reinhart of Wheeling, Ill.
In the end, McCreery's biggest adversary among the top 13 singers was the one most like him: 16-year-old fellow country darling Lauren Alaina of Rossville, Ga. Despite her vocal cord injury that needed medical treatment before their sing-off on Tuesday's finale, the judges proclaimed that Alaina overpowered McCreery with her soaring vocal spectrum.
The viewers, who cast more than 122 million votes, didn't agree. McCreery built a stronger connection with the audience than Alaina, who sometimes wilted under the lights — and pressure — of the "Idol" stage, while McCreery always sizzled. Sitting across from his parents in his dressing room after the finale, McCreery had one clue why viewers picked him.
"It's because I'm one of them," he said. "I was just a kid who was bagging groceries three months ago."
The matchup between McCreery and Alaina, who individually performed with country icon Tim McGraw and fourth season "Idol" winner Carrie Underwood on Wednesday, marked the youngest finale duel in "Idol" history. Producers lowered the minimum age requirement to 15 years old this season, which allowed Alaina the opportunity to audition last year.
McCreery's victory over Alaina was hardly a surprise to "Idol" devotees. Several online outfits predicted that McCreery would take home the top prize: the "Idol" title and a record contract. DialIdol.com, which tracks busy signals on the separate phone lines dedicated to each contestant, correctly projected him as the show's winner Wednesday morning.
The outcome punctuates the inaugural season of Lopez and Aerosmith frontman Steven Lopez as judges. The pair, who joined veteran Randy Jackson on the panel, brought a gentler attitude to the show after the departure of biting judge Simon Cowell, who left at the end of last season to transplant his British talent contest "The X Factor" to the U.S.
The new panel initially energized the 10th season of "Idol," which still reigns as No. 1 but has steadily dipped in weekly viewership and seen its audience age. Yet many "Idol" fans complained that the judges' final-round critiques quickly became repetitive. Ultimately, though, a pop diva, loudmouth rocker and old-school producer found America's next country star.
"I left Garner as Scotty, and I'm still Scotty as the `American Idol' winner," McCreery said on Wednesday.
McCreery follows in the footsteps of four previous "Idol" champions who are also charming, humble young men. And his win could be attributed to the biggest bloc of "Idol" voters, namely the howlers looking for their next heartthrob. But McCreery's unmatched commitment to country music likely garnered votes that weren't based solely on his looks.
Before he records his debut album, McCreery will tour with the top 11 finalists. He said he wants his album to be filled with "good songs. It's all about the songs from here on out. If you don't have hit songs, you don't have a career."
But there's something McCreery will have to attend to first: He said he needs just one more class to graduate from high school.
Fox is a unit of News Corp.
Kim Kardashian says her pregnancy lips are out of control, plus more celeb stories on 7 Wonders.Watch Video »
Check out Hollywood's hottest bikini bods on 7 Wonders, hosted by Tim Kash.Watch Video »
Robert Pattinson has moved out of the house he shared with Kristen Stewart, plus more celeb stories on 7 Wonders.Watch Video »
Better with age
See which stars just get better with age.Watch Video »
Check out some of Rihanna's worst wardrobe choices on 7 Wonders, hosted by Tim Kash.Watch Video »
Find out who went after Kendall Jenner on social media on today's Celebs Gone Social ...Watch Video »
- Twitter AttackFind out who went after Kendall Jenner on social media on today's Celebs Gone Social ...Watch Video »
- 'Fast' TalkWatch as the cast of "Fast & furious 6" talk about getting injuries while filming, getting jacked and a whole lot more.Watch Video »
- Feeling SwollenKim Kardashian says her pregnancy lips are out of control, plus more celeb stories on 7 Wonders.Watch Video »
- Party AnimalsCheck out some of Hollywood's biggest party animals.Watch Video »
- Carrie's ChangesSee how this country cutie has changed her looks over the years.Watch Video »
- Moving OutRobert Pattinson has moved out of the house he shared with Kristen Stewart, plus more celeb stories on 7 Wonders.Watch Video »
- Who Am I?Check out how Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and more stars of "Fast & Furious 6" looked when they were in high school.Watch Video »
- LovebirdsFind out what Jessica Alba and Cash Warren tweeted to each other on their fifth wedding anniversary on today's Celebs Gone Social ...Watch Video »
- Worst LooksCheck out some of Rihanna's worst wardrobe choices on 7 Wonders, hosted by Tim Kash.Watch Video »
- What's Sexy?Heidi Klum hangs with two comedy legends and shares what she finds most sexy in a man on today's Celebs Gone Social ...Watch Video »
- Sexy SecretsVictoria's Secret model Adriana Lima talks about the What's Sexy list, her model friends and more with Wonderwall.Watch Video »
- American TravelsGet the Prince's travel details on Replay hosted by Wonderwall's Kirby Kristen.Watch Video »
- Birthday GirlTori Spelling turns 40, plus more celeb stories on 7 Wonders, hosted by Tim Kash.Watch Video »
- Fashion OffendersFlorence Welch, Zoe Saldana, and Ali Larter all get an F on this week's Fashion OffendersWatch Video »
- Bikini BurnsFrom Kim Kardashian to Jessica Alba, see the worst celeb sunburns.Watch Video »
- Double TroubleFrom the Olsens to the Mowrys, see some of Hollywood's most famous twins.Watch Video »
- Roasted?Lindsay Lohan refuses to be roasted, plus more celeb stories on 7 Wonders, hosted by Tim Kash.Watch Video »
- Beach WorkoutsFrom Julianne Hough to Alessandra Ambrosio, see celebs who get their fitness on in the sand.Watch Video »
- Miley's MusicMiley Cyrus mixes music and fashion while ignoring her relationship status, on today's Celebs Gone Social.Watch Video »
- Royal AdviceSnooki gives Prince Harry some advice, plus more celeb stories on 7 Wonders, hosted by Tim Kash.Watch Video »
- Country CutiesCheck out the hottest couples in country music.Watch Video »
From Videos of Wonderwall
From MSN Entertainment
From Crowd Ignite