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Top 10 Scotty McCreery Moments

American Idol 2012, Getty Images

Scotty McCreery took the nation by storm when he became the season 10 winner of “American Idol” in 2011. The North Carolina native, who turns 19 today (Oct. 9), has had plenty of memorable moments and career highlights since that epic night. In honor of Scotty’s birthday, The Boot counts down 10 of the momentous events he’s experienced since becoming an “Idol” champ.

10. The platinum certification of his debut album, Clear as Day. Less than five months after being crowned the “American Idol” winner, then-17-year-old Scotty released his first album, which sold 197,000 units the first week and went platinum (signaling sales totaling 1,000,000) only two months later. The teenager admitted it was a tedious task narrowing down songs for his first CD.

“The songs just had to be right,” Scotty told The Boot. “There were some songs pitched my way that were trying to get on this album, but I wasn’t really feeling them. I just told them, “I don’t like it.” I had to have a song I could believe in and not fake in the recording studio or on stage. I had to stick to my guns about it.”

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9. Being invited to participate in two holiday parades. Scotty learned early that along with his newfound fame came plenty of sacrifices, including spending holidays away from home. In 2011, he performed for both the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, as well as the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade, along with several celebrities, including fellow “Idol” alum Jennifer Hudson, Cee Lo Green, Justin Bieber and Christina Aguilera.

8. Enrolling in North Carolina State University. The former grocery store clerk was determined to have a back-up plan, which is why he decided to pursue a college degree. While a move to Music City may have seemed logical, Scotty said he had valid reasons for staying close to home.

“I have a lot of learning to do and I don’t know if I’m ready to make the move from home yet, he told The Boot. “Give me a couple more years and I’ll be more mature and I’ll know more about the business. Maybe then I’ll make the move to Nashville. I think for right now the best spot for me is home.”

7. Watching his first two singles go gold. Fresh off his “Idol” win, Scotty’s debut single, “I Love You This Big” hit the airwaves. The song, which he performed during his winning finale, was followed up by the Top 20 hit, “The Trouble With Girls.” Both singles sold more than 500,000 copies, which he admitted was a bit overwhelming.

“Having the first single ['I Love You This Big'] go gold was crazy, but having the second single go gold and to see the response it is getting in our shows is incredible,” he acknowledged. “I wish I could come up with better words than ‘wild’ and ‘incredible,’ because this is really special.”

6. Releasing his first Christmas album. Scotty is getting ready to release his first holiday CD, Christmas With Scotty McCreery, on Oct. 16. “Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year,” he explains. “We start listening to Christmas songs early in the McCreery household, so it felt right. I’ve always wanted to record a Christmas album since I’ve had my music career. As a family, we were all really excited about making a Christmas album. Now we can add my CD to the collection we listen to.”

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5. Performing for the World Series. The sports fan undoubtedly had several “pinch me” moments when he was invited to perform for game one of the 2011 World Series. “It’s an incredible opportunity,” the high school baseball star told The Boot. “I’m a baseball nut. I have two loves: baseball and music. So to be able to sing and watch the game after … It’s the biggest day in baseball! Everybody dreams about going to that game, so to be able to sing at the game — it’s a moment I’ll never forget.”

4. Winning the Academy of Country Music award for Best New Artist. Scotty is already a familiar name at awards ceremonies. The singer has been nominated for several trophies, including multiple Teen Choice awards and two Billboard Music awards. But it was his ACM win for the fan-voted Top New Artist earlier this year that sealed his fate as a bona fide star.

“[The fans] never cease to amaze me,” Scotty told CMT following his epic night. “They’re wild on Twitter, and they’re insane, man. They’ve been by my side since ‘American Idol’ and they keep on coming out. I appreciate them.”

Getty Images for American Idol

3. Performing with Tim McGraw on the “American Idol” stage. As if making it to the finale wasn’t enough, Scotty also had the privilege of performing with one of his own idols, Tim McGraw, during the unforgettable night. The two performed Tim’s No. 1 hit, “Live Like You Were Dying.” Apparently, they had so much fun, they decided to reunite earlier this year in Scotty’s home state during the Brothers of the Sun tour, where they sang “I Like It, I Love It,” to thunderous applause.

2. Performing on the Grand Ole Opry. It’s the most-revered venue in country music, and left the new artist shaking in his cowboy boots. “I was more nervous than any time I took the ‘Idol’ stage,” he told The Boot. “Country music is what I love, and that’s such an icon in the country music world; all the greats have played there. Midway through my song — I hope there’s a video, because you can see me start just cheesin’, because I’m thinking, “Am I really doing this?” It was a really cool moment.”

1. Being invited to join Brad Paisley on his Virtual Reality tour. It was quite possibly the most coveted tour on which to earn an opening slot and the country music superstar surprised Scotty with the invite during his previous tour’s final stop, which happened in Scotty’s home state.

“Brad is a great guy,” Scotty noted. “He treats his opening acts well and treats the people who work for him well. I haven’t been on any other tours, but I’ve heard horror stories about the headliners not talking to their opening acts and don’t want anything to do with them … they just brush off all their workers and it’s all about them. But Brad, he’s the total opposite.”

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