One of them was a grocery bagger at the local supermarket and pitches for his high school baseball team. Another was a cheerleader. The third is a fledgling jazz singer.
Welcome to Homecoming Week at “American Idol” in which the final three contestants—and one who was just eliminated—greet their hometown fans, sign autographs and take a victory lap before two more will be eliminated, leaving a sole “Idol” champion.
Scott McCreery brought out a crowd of 30,000 fans to his hometown of Garner, NC, which spent $60k feting their returning hero. Local law enforcement were forced to block off Scotty’s neighborhood, where fans were staked outside the 17-year-old country crooner’s home.
McCreery dropped by the Lowe’s Foods where he worked, then made his way to Lake Benson Park, where the mayor gave him the key to the town and proclaimed May 14, “Scott McCreery Day.”
Watch James Durbin’s Emotional Goodbye:
While performing onstage, Scotty was surprised by country singer Josh Turner for an impromptu performance of his self-proclaimed theme song, “Your Man,” the song he originally sang for his Milwaukee audition, followed by “Long Black Train,” which McCreery called his “favorite song of all time.” The judges reportedly chose Kenny Rogers’ “She Believes in Me” for Scotty’s performance this week.
“I think he was surprised,” laughed Turner. “He didn’t see me until we were almost face-to-face. I think I almost gave him a heart attack.”
Scotty tweeted of the experience: “yesterday was definitely thebest dayof my life! Big thanks to @joshturnermusic for comin out! now us idols are reunited n headin back to LA!”
Underdog Haley Reinhart returned to Deer Park, IL, stopping at the AT&T store, where she signed autographs and greeted some 200 fans. Afterwards, she visited her alma mater, Wheeling High School, accompanied by a police escort, taking questions on her ‘Idol’ experience from approximately 400 fans wearing “Haley” T-shirts.
She performed several songs at the Wheeling Village Hall, then appeared at Arlington Park before 30,000 fans in drizzly weather. She was joined onstage her parents, Harry and Patti. Look for her to sing Alanis Morrisette’s “You Oughta Know” as one of her selections Wednesday night.
Writing before her trip home, Haley tweeted: “Thank u guys! Can’t wait 2 put on a show an spread ze love! Come on! Baby don’t u wanna go! Back 2 that same old place! SWEET HOME CHICAGO;)”
Georgia’s cherubic girl-next-door Lauren Alaina stopped at the local Chattanooga Fox affiliate then the AT&T store, leading a parade through the city, featuring two local high school marching bands before arriving at her alma mater, Fort Olgelthorpe Lakeview High School, where she was greeted with a banner reading “We Support Our Lauren Alaina!”
Lauren paid a visit to nearby Ringold, an area hit especially hard by the tornados. She then led another procession to Coolidge Park, where the mayor gave her a key to the city and the young finalist performed a few songs for fans. She will sing Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance” at the judges’ request.
Lauren was overwhelmed by the showing, writing on her Twitter account: “You guys are amazing. Im so blessed to have such great people following me. My fans are # 1 in my eyes.”
Finally, James Durbin, who was eliminated, greeted 30,000 fans in Santa Cruz for “Durbin Day.”
Durbin tweeted his followers: “Durbin Day is ON! Back home feels AWESOME! Bout to make a grand entrance! World heavyweight & WWE belts in tow fo sho! Zoccolis & taffy! Yes.”