Scotty McCreery Countrys Up Carole King On American Idol

Videos by American Songwriter

You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy. On Wednesday’s American Idol,  Scotty “baby lock them doors” McCreery sang “You’ve Got A Friend” as part of a night-long salute to Carole King, one of the great songwriters of our time.

After his fellow contestants thoroughly roasted him last week (the eyebrow raising, the holding the microphone like a flute) and the judges implored him to step out of his country music comfort zone, it seemed like the young North Carolina native was up against a wall. In rehearsals, producers Babyface and Jimmy Iovine tried to get him to sing the 1971 classic from Tapestry in less of a baritone and more of a smooth, affectless lilt, but that ain’t the Scotty way. Instead, he came up with a hybrid of country and Seventies soul, and gave one of his most impressive performances ever. But were the judges behind him?

“The beginning of that was flawless, that was amazing,” gushed an excitable Randy Jackson. “I never even heard you sing in that tone, and didn’t know that you had that in you.” J.Lo praised his storytelling abilities, and Steven Tyler concurred: “I don’t think you ever sang better.”

He may be the first-ever male country singer to clinch the competition, but with only six contestants left, it’s undeniable: this cat could win it all.

Elsewhere, presumed lovers Casey and Haley sang some strange, incongruent harmonies to “I Feel The Earth Move”, and James Durbin added some previously non-existent high notes to “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.”

What did you think of the night’s performances? Do you miss Paul McDonald? Let us know in the comments.


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