For my American Idol fans, here’s a good interview on USA today:

When American Idol winner Scotty McCreery heard his single I Love You This Big was currently the top-selling track on iTunes, he could barely contain his excitement.

“Is it really?” gasped the Garner, N.C., country crooner, during a conference call with reporters Thursday. Scotty took the Idol title Wednesday after a consistent run that never landed him in the show’s Bottom Three. “That’s the first I’ve heard! That’s amazing! That is wild.”

Most 17-year-olds don’t begin their careers at the top of the charts. What’s next for the Season 10 champion? McCreery says plans are currently being made for him and runner-up Lauren Alaina (with whom he says he has a “brother-sister” relationship with, despite their post-results finale kiss) to head to Nashville for the CMA Music Festival. He has also recorded a second song for his debut album.

“I’m really looking forward to getting my music out there,” Scotty says. “The fans got me to where I’m at now and now it’s my job to get them the music they want to hear.”

Despite his popularity, McCreery was worried after Lauren’s emotional final performance of Like My Mother Does Tuesday. “It’s one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard. I was more than nervous coming into it last night,” he says. And on his relationship with Alaina, who he met during Hollywood week and had been in school with ever since, “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.”

The Season 10 American Idol talked about his emotional hometown visit, the niche-filled cast and his nickname “Scotty the Body” in the following edited transcript:

Scotty McCreery reacts after winning at the ‘American Idol’ finale on Wednesday, May 25, 2011, in Los Angeles. Other “American Idol” contestants are seen congratulating him.
By Chris Pizzello, AP

How are you handling all of the attention?

This is pretty wild, I gotta say. It’s a whole lot more than I bargained getting into it, but I’m handling it well. This is what I asked for and this is my new life! It’s a really wild ride so far.

You’re a quarter Puerto Rican. How has that affected you? Do you speak any Spanish?

I visited Old San Juan once with my grandmother. We went on a cruise there. I don’t speak Spanish. I’ve done Spanish 1 and 2 classes. My grandma asked me when I was young if I wanted to learn Spanish and I guess I was young. I should have, because it would have helped me a lot. But Jennifer seems to think that it gives me a little flavor that other people didn’t have. I was talking to her and her mom yesterday before the show so we were talking a lot of Puerto Rico stuff. But yeah, I’m a quarter — my dad was born in Aguadilla and my grandmom in San Juan.

When Carrie Underwood won, they brought her to Nashville to the Grand Ole Opry and the CMA Music Festival, which is coming up in a couple weeks. When will you be headed to Nashville?

We talked about it. I was talking to someone before and then last night. I think we’re going to try to get me and Lauren out to the festival. We’re trying to figure out the specifics of where we’re going to be playing, the booth signings and maybe playing at the Grand Ole Opry. They’re figuring this all out now as we speak. But we’re going to be down there for sure I think.

Did you ever doubt yourself or think you were going home?

This week especially. Lauren Alaina, she is something else. She sings like a bird, and she’s such an amazing young lady. But every week — I’ve heard people say the frontrunner stuff and the favorite — it never even crossed my mind. Everyone this year from top 40 down is so talented and it was an amazing ride. As far as doubt, I think I never gave myself a chance before the shows. I’ve always had confidence in me, it’s just, I don’t know, the nerves on this show are something else.

How many new high-school friends do you have now?

Oh my goodness. They were all my friends before, we’re all a big Garner High School family. I got to talk to a lot of them that I didn’t have a chance to talk to before, you know how that goes, but it was a lot of fun to get back there and talk to them all. I don’t know about new friends, though. We were all a pretty tight-knit family before I left for Hollywood.

Lauren kissed you after you won. Is there any romance between you and Lauren Alaina?

No, me and her are more like a brother-sister thing. She told me before the show she was going to do that, kind of a joke thing. She’s a character. She’s lovely, we’re really close friends. I met her day one of Hollywood Week and we were schoolmates through the whole experience. She’s great, but it’s more a brother-sister friendship with us.

Tell us about your future album.

I’m really looking forward to getting my music out there. We’ve already recorded two this weekend, we weren’t sure which one we would do, and I Love You This Big was the one we did, but the other one I’m really excited about too. I think it’s going to be a great album. I gotta pick some great songs. That’s what its all about after the show, because the fans got me to where I’m at now and now it’s my job to get them the music they want to hear and have good songs. Hopefully me and Lauren get to do a duet some time. I’m not sure about the first album but hopefully sometime soon.

What was with Ryan’s “Scotty the Body” nickname?

He told me early on, he said it was kinda like a tradition with all the Scotts he’s had on the show: Scott McIntyre, and there’s another guy named Scott (Savol). It was more like a joke. I had been eating too many cookies on the show anyways. I’m not as toned as I was back in my baseball days.

What was going through your head during your emotional hometown visit moment in the limo?

We were driving up to the school and I just looked out the window and saw all the familiar faces that I had missed for so long. I had rolled down the window and someone said, “We miss and we love you, brother,” and that just really got me. I missed them so much and it was such a great moment for me to be back there because those are my friends. Those are the true ones that I just really love.

At what point did you notice your voice changing?

I’ve always kind of sounded the same other than when I was young and had a really high voice. Vegas Week was the week that I discovered I could sing higher than I had been. Ken Stacey, one of the vocal coaches, he kind of got it out of me, and I used that a lot with Gone and other songs. I’ve used my low voice, but I guess you could say it has changed over the competition.

There goes your career as a relief pitcher.

Ha ha, I don’t think it would have gone past high school.

Did you have a game plan going into the show? You seemed to stay in your comfort zone when people like Casey would go all over the map.

Yeah, I mean, everyone had their own niche. Casey would sing his jazzy, kinda rocker-growly music, Jacob sang his gospel music, James sang his rock music and I sang my country music.We all kinda had that same niche, they all do different songs but we all sort of had are niche. Country music is me, it’s what I’ve grown up with and it’s what I do. I didn’t have any intentions of changing that. My thing is, if it got me this far, why change it up, so it’s what we like to do.

Remember the basketball shot you made at the mansion? Was it on the first try?

I tried it from the steps initially and was missing terribly. That was my third attempt from the balcony that I made that shot.

I Love You This Big is currently No. 1 on iTunes.

Is it really? That’s the first I’ve heard! That’s amazing! That is wild. I love the song. This is really wild. The song is a great song. When they pitched it to me, I fell in love with it. Last night when I sang it as my finale song, it was kinda a choked-up performance, but I got through it and hugged my family. It’s really amazing that it’s No. 1. You’re the first to tell me that.

Did you think you were going to win?

My thought was that (Lauren) wrapped it up when she sang that momma song. It’s one of the most beautiful songs I’ve hear. I was more than nervous coming into it last night, but it worked out in my favor. 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.

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