GARNER — When Scotty McCreery takes the Walnut Creek stage Saturday for his homecoming concert, some Triangle nonprofit groups will have coveted spots in the audience.
Scotty's family gave 100 tickets apiece to 11 different agencies to say thanks for all the support Scotty received in the spring, when he competed each week on his way to being crowned the 10th "American Idol."
"Scotty has said in several interviews he wants to do good things through his music, and sharing these tickets is one small way to do it," said his mother, Judy McCreery.
Some of the groups hail from Scotty's hometown, Garner - the Garner Senior Center, Garner Baseball, the Garner Education Foundation and the "Community of Hope" ministries program at First Baptist Church of Garner, where the McCreery family worships.
Judy McCreery notes she used to be on the board of the Garner Education Foundation and that the senior center was selected because Scotty has many fans 55 and older. (There was a "Grandmas for Scotty" group in his homecoming parade in May.)
Other nonprofits have different ties to the family.
WakeMed Children's Hospital was selected because Scotty's sister, Ashley, was hospitalized there as an infant. N.C. Children's Hospital was picked because the McCreerys have a family friend who has an infant hospitalized there, plus Scotty is singing at a benefit concert for the hospital in November.
Partnership for Children of Johnston County got tickets because Judy McCreery saw the good the organization did when she owned a Clayton tanning salon next door.
The "Flapjack Jam," a Midtown Raleigh fundraiser to fight cystic fibrosis, caught the attention of Judy McCreery thanks to a YouTube video featuring 6-year-old Dylan Smith, a big Scotty fan who has cystic fibrosis. Dylan's mom, Nicole Smith of Raleigh, communicated with Judy online last week and learned the "Flapjack Jam" would get tickets.
That also led to a special surprise for Dylan on Saturday, when he and his mother went to pick up the tickets. Dylan got to met his idol and go on his tour bus.
"He thought he was dreaming," Nicole Smith said. "He couldn't believe he was really meeting the American Idol."
The other nonprofit organizations that received tickets are: House of Hope of North Carolina, Pop Warner Football and Cheering and Special Olympics.
Other tickets to Saturday's 11 a.m. event were given out through contests from The News & Observer, WRAL-TV and radio station WQDR.
Anyone else can enter Walnut Creek for the event by bringing a copy of Scotty's new album, "Clear As Day," which was released Tuesday. But those tickets will be first-come, first-served. Organizers recommend you show up by 8 a.m., when the parking lot opens, if you want to use the album to get in. Scotty will perform and take questions from the audience during the event, which celebrates the album release and marks Scotty's 18th birthday, which is Sunday.
It caps a busy time for Scotty, who still attends his senior year at Garner High School when in town. So far this week, Scotty has appeared on "Today," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and "Live With Regis and Kelly."
A documentary about him has aired on the GAC cable channel.
And he'll be on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on NBC-17 at 4 p.m. Friday.
Album selling well
And "Clear As Day" is off to a big start. On Wednesday night, it was the top-ranked album on iTunes, with four of its singles on iTunes' top 200 sellers. All 12 of the album's tracks ranked on iTunes' top 100 country singles.
On amazon.com, "Clear As Day" was the third best-selling album, behind Tony Bennett and Adele. It was the top-selling country album on Amazon.
Next up for Scotty? The baseball player and fan will perform the national anthem before the first game of the World Series.