RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The new "American Idol" Scotty McCreery felt the love from his North Carolina fans.
The RBC Center erupted Wednesday night with ear-piercing screams as Garner's McCreery was named winner of the television talent contest.
"Would you tell him I love him and want to be his wife?" 15-year-old Jessica Van Scoyoc of Clayton said Wednesday night at a watch party at the RBC Center in Raleigh, not far from McCreery's hometown.
Officials say between 10,000 and 12,000 packed into the arena and watched on its jumbo screen as the 17-year-old with the deep country voice won the show, beating Georgia teen Lauren Alaina. One section of the RBC Centerwas filled with members of the Blue Crew, a school spirit club at Garner Magnet High School that "cheers for football and basketball games. And Scotty," said Jeannie Hulmes, 46, who lives in the same neighborhood as Scotty and whose son is friends with him.
Those who know Scotty and those who don't said many of the same things about him -- that they're just as impressed with his singing as they are with his values.
Brett Bailey, 18, of Garner, said he visited Scotty in Los Angeles for about three days during the show's Motown week. "The person who he is the same person who he was when he left," Bailey said. "Scotty's still Scotty."
He had fans of all ages.
Thirteen-year-old Shayna Teator was one of many who say they always knew McCreery would come out on top.
"I thought he was going to win from the day he tried out," she said. "He was really good and has a deep voice."
Trudy Elmore, 60, of Garner was with a group of people wearing T-shirts that read "Team Scotty." She said she was ecstatic with Scotty's win, especially since they both attend First Baptist Church in Garner.
"There are no words for it, we're just so excited," she said. "I'm excited he praised the Lord right on to the end. And we're all so proud of him."
Jeannine Hulmes' husband, John, was Scotty's baseball coach in middle school. "It's an unbelievable accomplishment," he said. "He's an unbelievable singer and unbelievable role model. I think he's touched the heart of most of the country with his values and his sing."
Van Scoyoc was at the watch party with six of her friends, most of them wearing black T-shirts with Scotty's name on them. They like him, they said, because he's a good country singer, a good role model and a good "Idol."
"He's still the country boy he was when he went to Hollywood," said Caitlyn Goff, 14.
McCreery's popularity with the judges fell a bit Tuesday night, the last competition show for the season, but it didn't matter in the end. The judges said 16-year-old Alaina of Rossville, Ga., performed her last song, "Like My Mother Does," better than McCreery performed "I Love You This Big."
"American Idol" sponsored the party for McCreery. Previous viewing parties had been held at Garner High School, which McCreery attends.
McCreery was never been among the show's low vote-getters; Alaina once found herself at the bottom three weeks ago.
Matt Rogers, the host of Raleigh's "Idol" watch party and a Season 3 contestant, practiced what he was going to say if Scotty one and the national show went back to Raleigh. The crowd at RBC Center "is not at all surprised," he rehearsed. "We knew Scotty was going to win it."
In the end, it didn't matter what Rogers said. His words couldn't be heard over the screams.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)