Thursday, July 28, 2011
Rising star Scotty McCreery leads 'Idol' tour to St. Louis
But one thing seemed certain: Scotty McCreery would walk away with the title.
The slight North Carolina native with the humongous voice never faltered on the show, effortlessly belting out country songs such as "Amazed," "Always on My Mind," "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" and "Check Yes or No," and easily toppling runner-up Lauren Alaina.
But McCreery, 17, says he never took his win for granted.
"You never knew what was going to happen week to week," he says. "I don't think any of us had a clue."
And the surprise eliminations definitely added to that feeling.
"When Pia went home, I remember being angry and mad, and everybody backstage crying," he says of Toscano, a one-time front-runner who placed ninth and has since landed a contract with Interscope Records.
McCreery is headlining this summer's installment of the "American Idols Live!" tour, which comes to Scottrade Center on Sunday.
"I Love You This Big," which he first sang on the "American Idol" season finale, is a hit on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, where it had the highest debut for a new artist since 1984.
McCreery also has performed on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," at the Grand Ole Opry and the CMA Music Festival, and he has a "Good Morning America" gig Aug. 12.
He says his new life is taking a lot of getting used to.
"It's still pretty wild," McCreery says. "I can't do the normal things a normal 17-year-old can do, like going out to eat and walking down the street, without getting stopped."
But things will get wilder as McCreery nears the release of his as-yet-untitled debut album, which he says is about halfway complete.
The album, he says, will "represent Scotty McCreery, just a normal 17-year-old from small-town America. I want it to be something Middle America can relate to."
McCreery is aiming to create an album that will include the old country feel he became known for on "Idol," along with an upbeat and modern sound.
"I don't want to get too poppy or too rock," he says. "And I want to make sure it's solid country. I want to mix songs people can dance to with songs to make people cry."
McCreery says he probably won't have any covers, which is surprising considering he handled them so well on "Idol."
"I thought of having an old country cover, but I'm getting all this good material, all original stuff, which is a good thing," he says. "It's all about me establishing myself, putting my stamp on it."