Going back to regular high school life to finish out his senior year has got to be a tough thing for Scotty McCreery. And to think, besides the typical heavy course load and pressure to get into a good college, the reigning American Idol, 17, hasn’t even been able to land the head cheerleader yet. Of course, the country crooner from Garner, North Carolina, who just dropped his debut disc, Clear As Day, claims that’s his choice. He explains why to Us.
Us: This must be a really exciting time!
SM: Oh definitely, this is why we tried out, you know, just try to do this music thing. We’ve been recording and everything, and It's just been amazing. It's been the experience of a lifetime.
US: How has it been adjusting to life? How has it been being the American Idol?
SM: It's been pretty cool. We got to do a lot of amazing things. It’s been different adjusting to the life of going out to dinner and having to take ten pictures and signing a couple of CDs before we’re done. It’s been a lot of fun. This is all dreamed up plus a whole lot more. I'm just taking it all in and enjoying life and thanking God for everything he's been giving me because this has truly been a blessing to be able to do this.
US: Did you stay in your hometown or did you end up moving to Nashville or LA?
SM: No, I'm still in my hometown. I'm still in high school. I'm still being Scotty and being the same person I was before I left for Idol.
US: Are you a junior or senior?
SM: I'm a senior this year. It's been fun and hopefully next week or in a few weeks I'll be back at football games.
US: Tell me about your senior year. How is that going? I know your mom is very intense about you finishing school...
SM: Well, she's actually on the road with me when we are out here. She's being my teacher; she's a certified entry-level teacher. She’s filling that role and when we are in town, I'm back going to high school and just being a normal me. It was really cool getting back this week. It was my first time back since Idol. I was expecting the weird looks and not being treated the same. I walked in there and it was like I never left.
US: So these were the same people you grew up with anyway?
SM: Yeah, definitely so they knew me before this Idol thing. I didn't expect anyone to treat me different. People I did know and I was a little worried about. It was great. I didn’t get anything too weird happening to me, so it was a lot of fun being back.
US: So how many people live in Garner?
SM: It's a big, small town. I think it's around 27,000 that's there but it's still one of those towns where you go to the grocery store and see your buddy from crosstown and you say hey and catch up. It was a great town to grow up in –= everything a kid needs: a couple grocery stores, a couple McDonalds, and you're good to go.
Us: How did everyone react when you won?
SM: Initially when I got back it was craziness and everything. From a small town like that, we were all kind of on this journey together. They were sending me texts and rooting me on and stuff. It was nice to be back and say thank you to them. It's just kind of gotten back to, not total normalcy because I still get the weird celebrity treatment that I'm still getting used to but it was great just getting back and seeing people I’ve been missing and saying hi and catching up and being normal for a little bit.
Us: Being the American Idol in high school, do the teachers give you special treatment?
SM: No, absolutely not. I got there Monday and on Tuesday I had to take a test with the rest of the class. I was in those books. I made sure I got all my material done when I was on the road and stuff so I’m caught up with them and I'm on the same track they are. They give me no special treatment -- I still have to work my tail off.
Us: When you were on the show, it was a totally different world for you. What did you take from the whole experience? Anything weird? Like one of the other cast members taught you how to breakdance or something?
SM: I don't think anybody can teach me how to dance! Most everybody on the show this year was pretty chill and pretty normal. Casey taught me a little bit. James Durbin kind of converted me to a little bit of a wrestling fan. That’s about all we got to watch on the bus so it was kind of forced upon me. It’s all good, though.
Us: Now that you’re the American Idol and you're in school, are you still single?
SM: Yeah, I’m still single. I've been single for about three or four years running and nothing's changed. I get the prom proposals in Minnesota when I'll be in North Carolina or the marriage proposals or whatever. It’s definitely a change, but back home it hasn't been too much different.
Us: Now that you’re famous and everything, the most beautiful girl in school isn't throwing herself at you?
SM: I wouldn’t let that happen. I wouldn't let someone who didn't give me the time of day before come back in and me fall for it. People who were my good friends before are my good friends now. There's no hard feelings to people who weren't but I’m not going to fall for that stuff. I'm the same dude. Nothing's changed. My life has changed, but as far as me, as a person, nothing's changed I get the 'hey' in the hallway or a wave or something I wouldn't have gotten before, but nothing too drastic.
Us: How do you handle all the female fans who are coming after you now?
SM: You've just got to take it and run with it. You’ve just got to play along with it. Somebody at one of the shows got down and one knee and said 'Will you marry me?' and put a ring pop on my finger. So I was like, sure, I'll be married to someone for the day. You’ve just got to have fun with it.
Us: What do you look for in a girl?
SM: Just a normal girl. A girl doesn't have to dress up for me 24/7 and always have her makeup on and always be wearing high heels. That's not me. You can come to me in sweatpants and a t-shirt and I'd be alright with that. As far as plans, I'm young and I'm busy so I don't have much time for the dating life. But hopefully it will all settle down eventually and I'll be able to sit down and explore and get out there in the world. But right now I'm a busy dude.
Us: There were all those rumors about you and Idol runner-up Lauren Alaina. Were those ever true?
SM: Nope. Never true and probably never will be true. We are friends but nothing more than that.
Us: How was being out on the road for the Idol tour?
SM: It was fun. We got to go to a lot of cool places and a lot of cool venues and we had a lot of fun times. I was the last one to get pranked. They got me in the shower with the ice bucket. We had some fun times like that too. We had a good time out there. The bus was chill and we’d get pizza every night. That probably put a damper on my weight size so I have to get back to the gym. My coaches were upset about that. They said, 'Scotty, you look out of shape. Go run a lap' or something like that when I got back to school. It's all good though. I had a great time out there on the road.
Us: What are your plans after high school?
SM: I'll be in college. We’re looking to apply to some schools coming up pretty soon. We’re looking at some different options and different schools out there. After high school, I'll still be working and making music but I'll be in college as well.
Us: That will give you a leg up if you put American Idol on your application! You can probably get in anywhere.
SM: Some people won't fall for it. Some people don’t like it, so I have to be careful about that!
Us: But are you getting A's right now?
SM: I sure hope so. We'll find out pretty soon when the teacher sends the grades out.
By Ian Drew for Us Weekly. To read more of Ian's blog, click here.