Scott McCreery, a 17-year-old junior at Garner (NC) High School who was supposed to be a member of the Trojans pitching staff in 2011, advanced to the American Idol finals, as announced on the results show Thursday night from California. McCreery, who stands all of 5-10 and 160 pounds, will compete next week against 16-year-old Lauren Alaina from Rossville, Georgia, for the grand prize of a recording contract. The duo beat out 20-year-old Haley Reinhart of Wheeling, Illinois, to advance to next week’s show.
McCreery, who escaped danger in each of the previous two weeks when he was one of the bottom two contestants in fan voting, did not have to sweat it out on Thursday night, as host Ryan Seacrest announced McCreery as the first contestant to make it to next week’s finals.
This week, each singer had a lot shorter work schedule to learn their songs as last weekend each made a trip home to celebrate advancing to the final three. McCreery’s trip home to Garner (just south of Raleigh, NC) included a concert by McCreery for thousands of cheering fans at Lake Benson Park in Garner. During the concert, McCreery was surprised on stage by country music singer Josh Turner.
While at home, McCreery also made various stops at local television and radio stations for interviews, stopped by his old job bagging groceries at a local grocery store, was presented with a key to the city and was adored by the locals who cheered wildly when he showed up on the concert stage.
Each contestant sang three songs on Wednesday night. McCreery’s three were “Amazed” by Lonestar; “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not” by Thompson Square and “She Believes In Me” by Kenny Rogers. He received outstanding reviews from the judges following each song.
McCreery was a member of the Trojans junior varsity baseball team in 2010 and finished with a 6-1 record as a right-handed starting pitcher. It was anticipated that he was going to be a member of the Trojans varsity bullpen in 2011, however, his season never got off the ground after he qualified for American Idol in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – and kept advancing week-by-week down to next week’s finale.
Garner finished its 2011 season with an 11-13 record after dropping its final game of the year, 9-1, against Pine Forest in the opening round of the North Carolina state high school playoffs. The Trojans finished with a winning mark of 8-6 in the Greater Neuse Conference after winning four of its last five league contests.
It is not yet known if McCreery will be pitching in 2012.