Scotty's Grandparents Share in "Idol" Glow
Scotty McCreery's success on "American Idol" is having quite a trickle-down effect on his grandparents.
Bill and Paquita McCreery, of Aberdeen, have reconnected with old friends and made plenty of new ones thanks to their grandson's sensationally successful run on the popular national reality television show for aspiring singers.
"People are interested in talking to us whether they know us or not," said Paquita McCreery. "We've lived here for 23 years, and we know a lot of people. But through Scotty we've met so many more."
Scotty McCreery, 17, of Garner, will face off against a 16-year-old Georgian, Lauren Alaina, on the season finale of "American Idol." Both are country singers.
During Thursday's results show, McCreery became the first to make the finals, -leaving Alaina and Haley Reinhardt battling for the other spot in the finals. Voters have cast more than 95 million votes this season.
The finalists are the youngest in the history of the show.
More than 1,700 people packed into the Garner High School gym Thursday night to watch the show. McCreery is a student at the school, which counts former "Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken among its alumni.
The competition moves to the Nokia Theatre, a larger venue, for the final night, which takes place at 8 p.m. Tuesday, with the two-hour results show airing Wednesday at 8 p.m.
Each competitor is expected to sing three songs on Tuesday's show. Afterward, voting will begin by phone, text and Facebook.
On Wednesday, the top vote getter will be named American Idol of Season 10. Wednesday's two-hour finale begins at 8 p.m.
Scotty will return to Raleigh on July 27, when "American Idol Live" comes to the RBC Center.
"American Idol" typically airs on Fox on Wednesday and Thursday nights. For McCreery's grandparents, the phone calls typically start Thursday morning.
"They call and say, 'Oh what a beautiful job he (Scotty) did,' and then, 'I'll call you Friday to see how he did,'" says Bill McCreery.
Scotty's grandparents spent Friday morning -working in the yard of their home between answering phone calls from well--wishers. In the span of about 30 minutes, Paquita answered the phone six times. All the calls, she said, were related to "American Idol."
"Usually they are short conversations," she says. "We try to be polite and say, 'Thank you for calling,' and, 'Thank you for voting for our grandson.'"
Says Bill, "We've been -getting six or seven calls a day. Since he's top two, that number will probably keep going up."
The McCreerys have received plenty of calls from long-lost friends and former neighbors. One call came from a couple they have not seen or heard from in 43 years, since they were neighbors in New Hampshire.
"After we talked, they came here for a visit, and we hashed over old times," Bill McCreery says.
Earlier this week, Paquita spoke to a quilting group. When she appeared for her talk, she was greeted with a large banner that read, "We Love Scotty." It was a group of mostly strangers.
Another time, she was in the parking lot of Walmart wearing a Scotty button, and a car pulled up beside her and asked her if she knew Scotty. She said that she was his grandmother.
"They got out of the car, and said, 'Oh, we have to pray,'" said Bill McCreery. "It's been unbelievable."
The couple both have the buttons, which were created by a company in Garner. Both say they are careful when and where they wear the buttons now, because they tend to create a lot of attention.
The McCreerys say they appreciate the kind words, the votes and the prayers for Scotty.
Thursday's show featured footage of the three finalists' hometown visits. If viewers paid close attention, they might have seen his grandparents coming out of the house as Scotty arrived home.
The McCreerys have been in the show's audience and have been seen on television during Scotty's performances this season. However, they both say they prefer to stay out of the limelight and would rather just sit in front of the television with a bowl of popcorn and watch the show.
"When you see him doing his thing, you say, 'That's my Scotty,'" Paquita says.
Both are looking forward to next week's finale, but aren't making any predictions.
"He's already a winner to us,"she says. "We love him whether he's an American Idol or not."
Contact Tom Embrey at email@example.com. Features Editor Faye Dasen contributed to this story.
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