McCreery moves onto top 40, will find out fate tonight
by Kelly Griffith
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The crowd at the Garner Historic Auditorium erupted in applause and cheers as American Idol judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Stephen Tyler announced Scotty McCreery was in the top 40.

Garner set up American Idol viewing parties in support of McCreery at the Historic Auditorium, Senior Center and Avery Street Rec Center Feb. 23.

McCreery sang the Beatles’ “Hello Goodbye” with fellow contestants Lauren Alaina and Denise Jackson. While the judges weren’t sure it was his best performance, McCreery had another chance to show off his talent before top 24 were chosen.

The nearly 50 people at the Historic Auditorium were excited to share the moment with one another and support the Garner Magnet High School junior.

“I get nervous every week,” longtime family friend of the McCreerys Sherry Sebastian said. “I told (Scotty) the first time I saw him on American Idol I was as nervous as when I watched Dale Earnhardt try to win the Daytona 500.

Sebastian anticipates at least a top 12 slot for McCreery, but is positive he will go far with his talent regardless of American Idol.

“Somebody’s going to grab him up,” she said.

It was clear that McCreery has plenty of fans in Garner as tweens and young women donning “Garner’s American Idol” texted about him during commercials.

For the ultimate McCreery fan, t-shirts and buttons in three different styles were available at the party locations. T-shirts cost $15 and buttons are $3 each. The proceeds will go to a local charity of McCreery’s choice.

“He did amazing,” Megan King, 13, said.

King’s younger sister, Lauren, 11, said she has high hopes for McCreery’s run on the show. She looks forward to the hometown visits near the end of the season.

“We want him to come home when it’s the top three,” she said. “He will make it. I know it.”

Hannah Rowell, 11, said she saw him sing at church and wanted to attend the viewing party in support.

Crystal Currin, 21, and Ashley Roberts, 24, both went to GMHS and were thrilled for America to see local talent.

As judges sat down with contestants, tension built in the Historic Auditorium. That’s where Scott Honeycutt came in; during commercials he asked trivia questions about McCreery and American Idol and got audience members up and moving with the Cha Cha Slide and Cupid Shuffle up on stage.

“I wish we didn’t have so much tension to deal with,” he said to the viewers. “We already know who the American Idol is.”

Despite the lower than expected attendance, Parks and Recreation staff members were confident the numbers would grow in parties to come.

White Deer Park Supervisor Stephanie Shaffer said between the GMHS state playoff basketball game, N.C. State vs. UNC basketball game and Wednesday night church services there was plenty of competition for getting people to come out.

At the Senior Center, Recreation Program Manager Rob Smith said Town staff moved tables around and give viewers more space to feel comfortable.

“We tried to create a café style here at the Senior Center,” he said.

The fun continues tonight at 7 p.m. at all three locations. If McCreery makes it into the top 24, the Town plans to hold viewing parties next Wednesday, Mar. 3 as well. T-shirts and buttons will be sold at those events.

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