McCreery defeated Lauren Alaina, a 16-year-old student from Rossville, GA, after he received the larger portion of the "over 122 million" home viewer votes that were cast immediately following Tuesday night's live performance broadcast that saw the teens square off in what was the youngest matchup in Idol finale history.
During a conference call with reporters on Thursday, the 17-year-old student from Garner, NC, talked about his American Idol experience -- including how he has been handling his newfound fame, whether there was a time in the competition when he worried he would be the next contestant eliminated, what his response was to rumors that he's dating Alaina, and whether he went into the season finale believing he had won.
How are you handling and getting used to all the attention you have been receiving?
Scotty McCreery: It's been pretty wild, I gotta say. It's a whole lot more than I bargained for coming into this. I never would have expected it, but I'm handling it well. It's what I asked for. It's my new life, so it's been a really crazy ride so far.
You were a favorite all season long, so was there any point in the season where you had any doubts about whether you'd be able to remain in the competition?
Scotty McCreery: Oh, I mean, I definitely respect Lauren Alaina. She's something else. She sings like a bird. She's just an amazing young lady, but every week I've heard people say the frontrunner stuff, but to me, it never even crossed my mind. Because everybody this year from Top 40 down were just so talented and it was just an amazing ride.
But yeah, I mean, as far as doubting myself, I don't think I ever gave myself a real chance before the show's audition. But now, it's just about the confidence and I don't know. I've always had confidence, but to me, it's just -- it was weird -- the nerves for the show, it's something else.
Lauren said she thought for sure you were going to win going into the finale, what were your initial thoughts?
Scotty McCreery: My thought was that she wrapped it up when she sang that finale song -- that mama song she sang -- that's just one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard.
I was more than nervous coming into last night, but it worked in my favor, but Lauren, she's sweet. She's been supporting me, and I've been supporting her through this whole process. We're really close friends and we both came out winners last night.
After Lauren gave you that big kiss Wednesday night, she said you might be her boyfriend. Is there any romance between the two of you?
Scotty McCreery: Oh, no. We've been getting real close, but me and her -- I mean, it's more like the brother and sister thing. She told me before the show that she was going to do that as sort of kind of like a joke. So, she did and she's a character, so -- but she's lovely.
We're really close friends. I met her day one of Hollywood week and then we were schoolmates during this whole experience, so she's great. But yeah, it's more a brother/sister friendship between me and her.
What kind of album do you hope to make and who would you like to work with?
Scotty McCreery: Yeah, I mean, really it's a -- I'm really looking forward to getting my music out there. We've already recorded two [songs] this week, and we weren't sure which one we were going to do. "I Love You This Big" turned out to be the one that we did, but the other one, I'm really excited about too.
I think it's going to be a great album, you know? I got to pick some good songs and that's what it's all about after the show -- getting good songs -- because the fans have gotten me where I am now, so it's my job to get the music they want to hear and have good songs. It's going to be good. Hopefully me and Lauren can plan on doing a duet sometime. I'm not sure about the first album, but hopefully sometime soon.
Did you have a gameplan going intoAmerican Idol and what made you decide to stay in your comfort zone when you chose to stick with country songs throughout the competition?
We all kind of had that same niche, and we -- they did different songs -- but we all kind of had that genre we liked to stay to. So, country music to me is what I grew up with, and it's what I do. I didn't have any intentions to change it. My thing was that if it got me this far, why change it up? It's what I love to do.
You are one-quarter Puerto Rican, so how has that affected you? Do you speak Spanish, have you ever had a chance to visit there, and are there any ways in which the culture has influenced you?
Scotty McCreery: Yeah, I visited old San Juan once with my grandmother. We went on a cruise there, and I don't speak Spanish except for the Spanish I've learned in two classes. My grandmother asked me when I was young, she said, "Do you want to learn Spanish?" And I guess I was just young, and I should have, because it would have helped me out a lot.
But I don't speak it. [Idol judge Jennifer Lopez] says it's the thing that gives me a little flavor, and other people do too. But I was talking to her and her mom yesterday before the show. So, we were talking about a lot of Puerto Rican stuff, but yeah. I'm a quarter. My dad was born in Aguadilla and my grandmother in San Juan.
Are you headed to Nashville anytime soon for any performances?
Scotty McCreery: Yeah. We talked about -- I was talking to [Idol producer] Simon Fuller last night, and I think we're going to try to get me and Lauren out there to Fan Fest and they're trying to work out the specifics right now about where we're going to be playing and the booth signings and maybe playing at the Grand Ole Opera. They're working all this out at least as we speak, but yeah. We're going to be down there for sure, I think.
When you went to your high school during your hometown visit, how many more friends did you have than when you first left for Idol?
Scotty McCreery: Oh my goodness, I mean, they were all my friends before. We're all a big Garner High School family before. I got to talk to a lot of them that I didn't really get a chance to talk to before. You know how that goes. It was just a lot of fun to get back there and talk to them all. I don't know about new friends, because we were all a pretty tight-knit family before I left to come out here for Hollywood.
Scotty McCreery: He told me early on, he said it was kind of like a tradition. I think he's done it with all the Scotts he's had on the show. Before there was like [eighth-season contestant] Scott MacIntyre and there was another guy named Scott I think, but it was more like a joke.
I took it as a joke on the show anyways. I wasn't as toned as I was back in my baseball days, so yeah, "Scotty the Body." We were all joking around about that one.
You had an emotional moment when you went back to Garner and broke down and wept in the car. What was going through your head at that moment?
Scotty McCreery: In the limo, yeah. We were driving up to the school and I just looked out the window and saw all the familiar faces there that I've missed for so long. I rolled down the window and somebody said, "We miss and we love you, brother." That just really got me. I might have cried just because I think I just missed them so much.
That was a great moment for me to be back there and get to see them again because they're my friends. They were my friends before the show and those are the true ones that I just really love.
At what point did you notice your voice changing and what did you used to sound like?
Scotty McCreery: I mean, I've always sounded kind of the same, except for when I was younger when I had a really high voice. But I'd say Vegas Week was the week that I really discovered I could kind of singer higher than I had been singing during the competition.
Ken Stacey, one of the vocal coaches, he kind of got it out of me and I've kind of used it a lot. I can sing higher for a lot of different stuff, so I've used my low voice, but yeah. I guess I can say it's changed throughout the competition.
When American Idol aired a clip of you making a three-point shot, did you get it on the first shot or did it take you a couple tries?
Scotty McCreery: I tried it from the steps initially and I was missing terribly. So, I said to myself, "Why don't I try this from the balcony?" And it was my third attempt from the balcony when I made that shot.
Your song "I Love You This Big" is No. 1 on ITunes...
Scotty McCreery: Was it really?! That's the first time I've heard that. That's amazing!
So how do you feel about that and how...
Scotty McCreery: That is wild! I love the song. [Hey Mom], my song is No. 1 on ITunes right now!
Scotty McCreery: I had to tell my mom, sorry. This is really wild. I mean, this song, it's just a great song to start off with.
It's just -- when they gave to me, I just fell in love with it -- last night when I sang it for my finale, it was kind of a choked up performance, but I got through it and I hugged my family with it. That's really amazing that it's number one. You're the first to tell me that.
Do you have any closing remarks?
Scotty McCreery: I just want to thank you guys so much for everything you've done for me. I've done all the work on Idol now, and now that that's done, it's time for the real job to start. So, thank you all so much and I'll be talking to you all soon.
(Photo credit Fox)
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