RALEIGH, N.C. — The new "American Idol" Scotty McCreery felt the love from his North Carolina fans.
The RBC Center erupted Wednesday night with ear-piercing screams as Garner's McCreery was named winner of the television talent contest.
"Would you tell him I love him and want to be his wife?" 15-year-old Jessica Van Scoyoc of Clayton said Wednesday night at a watch party at the RBC Center in Raleigh, not far from McCreery's hometown.Story: Great Scott! McCreery wins 'American Idol'
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Officials say between 10,000 and 12,000 packed into the arena and watched on its jumbo screen as the teen with the deep country voice won the show. He beat Georgia teen Lauren Alaina in the final.
He had fans of all ages.Story: Fans of losing 'Idol' still proud of singer
Thirteen-year-old Shayna Teator was one of many who say they knew from start that McCreery was going to win.
Sixty-year-old Trudy Elmore of Garner was too excited to describe her emotions. She said she goes to church with McCreery and was pleased he praised the Lord during the show.Story: What happens to winners of 'Idol'?
Van Scoyoc was at the party with six of her friends, most of them wearing black T-shirts with Scotty's name on them. They like him, they said, because he's a good country singer, a good role model and a good "Idol."
"He's still the country boy he was when he went to Hollywood," said Caitlyn Goff, 14.Slideshow: ‘American Idol’ season 10 finale (on this page)
McCreery's popularity with the judges fell a bit Tuesday night, the last competition show for the season, but it didn't matter in the end. The judges said 16-year-old Alaina of Rossville, Ga., performed her last song, "Like My Mother Does," better than McCreery performed "I Love You This Big." Both tunes were selected by "Idol" mentor Jimmy Iovine.
Judge Randy Jackson said McCreery, a 17-year-old Garner resident, had the edge before those songs and still might have it going into Wednesday night when the winner is named. Judges don't decide the winner of the talent show; viewers vote by phone, text and email.
"American Idol" sponsored the party for McCreery. Previous viewing parties have been held at Garner High School, which McCreery attends.
McCreery has never been among the show's low vote-getters; Alaina once found herself at the bottom three weeks ago.
In addition to "I Love You This Big," McCreery also reprised his version of Montgomery Gentry's "Gone" and performed on his acoustic guitar as he sang George Strait's "Check Yes or No."
Alaina sang Carrie Underwood's "Flat on the Floor" and Pam Tillis' "Maybe It Was Memphis."
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