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Final thoughts on the big "Idol" show

The "American Idols Live!" tour has packed up and headed across the state to Charlotte, where a performance is scheduled for tonight. But here are a few final thoughts on the sold-out Raleigh show at the RBC Center on Wednesday night.

First, check out my colleague David Menconi's fine review, if you haven't already. He is dead-on in noting that Garner's Scotty McCreery, left, seems right at home onstage and that Haley Reinhart already seems like a seasoned performer. And yes, an appearance by Scotty a little earlier in the show would have been preferable.

But I tended to view the show from a slightly different lens than David -- was it an enjoyable, family-friendly night out for my wife and I and our 10-year-old daughter, a huge "Idol" fan who is not quite ready for a Katy Perry or Lady Gaga show? On that measure, just looking at my kid's face, it was a big success.

"Idols Live!" is never going to match, say, a Prince or Springsteen show. No one expects it to. But for what it is — well-produced, Disney-fied singing of popular songs, with something for everyone — it works.

Highlights:

Scotty Watch: Two more are sent packing

On a stressful results show tonight in which two of the 11 finalists would be going home, Scotty McCreery, right, got to breathe easy early on. He and fellow Southerner Lauren Alaina were sent to safety shortly after performing a duet to open the show.

Scotty’s performance of the little-known Elton John song “Country Comfort” was praised on Wednesday’s show. Tonight, he and Lauren, who also knows her way around a country tune, sang “I Told You So,” the song by fellow North Carolinian Randy Travis that also has been covered by Carrie Underwood.

Host Ryan Seacrest then came out to tell both Scotty and Lauren, a Georgia teen, that they had advanced to the Final Nine.

The remaining finalists also performed in groups:

Scotty Watch: Party on, Garth

The 13 “American Idol” finalists were asked to choose a song from one of their own musical idols tonight, and the only question for Garner’s Scotty McCreery was which country artist he would pick.

After chatting with host Ryan Seacrest about how it’s “killing him” to miss his Garner High School baseball season (and sending a shout out to his “blue crew Trojans”) Scotty tells us he picked Garth Brooks’ song “The River.”

Legendary producer Don Was, who was working with Scotty, called him a natural storyteller. Scotty noted that, “You’ve got to be country music. You can’t just sing it.”

It was not his very best performance, but it certainly was good. And the judges, as usual, liked Scotty. Randy Jackson was glad Scotty didn’t try to change who he is: “If it ain’t broke, don’t even think about fixing it.”

'American Idol': Scotty makes the cut!

Garner's Scotty McCreery has passed his final test with the "American Idol" judges. Starting Tuesday, it will be up to viewers whether the deep-voiced baseball player advances in the competition.

In the episode aired Thursday night, Scotty, a 17-year-old Garner High School senior, was named as one of the 24 finalists in this, "Idol's" 10th season.

He and the other 12 male finalists will next perform Tuesday night. Viewers can then cast their votes by phone and, new this year, by Facebook. On Wednesday, the 12 female finalists will perform. Then on Thursday, those with the lowest votes will be eliminated.

In the shows that aired this week, which were taped last fall, Scotty's performances were mixed. Contestants had to form groups to sing Beatles songs on the stage of Cirque du Soleil's "LOVE" in Las Vegas. After initially choosing "If I Fell" -- and being bluntly told it wasn't working for them -- Scotty's group performed "Hello Goodbye." His voice sounded good -- and he remembered the lyrics -- but the overall performance of the trio was a bit kitschy, even by Vegas standards.

'American Idol': Scotty survives the Hollywood drama

It wasn't easy and it wasn't pretty -- what with all the drama, tears and botched lyrics -- but Garner's Scotty McCreery advanced through "American Idol's" grueling Hollywood rounds this week.

Next stop is a Las Vegas round, to be televised next week, in which the contestants will have to perform Beatles songs. Scotty, study those lyrics!

In the Hollywood group rounds, shown Wednesday night, Scotty struggled to find a group that would fit his deep, twangy voice. He ultimately hooked up with four others who were singing the Temptations' "Get Ready." But then the soap opera began as the group decided to oust one of its members -- baby-faced 15-year-old Jacee Badeaux.

'American Idol': Garner ready to party with Scotty [Updated]

Scotty McCreery is just getting started with his "American Idol" journey, but his many fans in Garner are expecting it to be a long one. And they plan to celebrate with him along the way.

The Town of Garner already has scheduled "Idol" viewing parties for its hometown favorite on Wednesday, Feb. 23, and Thursday, Feb. 24. WQDR radio hosts Mike Wheless and Marty Young will host the events from 7 to 10 p.m. at Garner Historic Auditorium at 742 W. Garner Road. (Additional viewing locations will be Avery Street Gymnasium at 125 Avery St. and Garner Senior Center at 205 E. Garner Road.)

Assuming Scotty is still in the running, another viewing party would be scheduled for March 3.

Scotty, a senior and baseball player at Garner High School, easily sailed through the first round of "Hollywood Week," which "Idol" aired Thursday.

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