GARNER — As "American Idol" gets ready to kick off its 11th season next week, last year's champ Scotty McCreery has received another big honor.
The Garner native's debut CD, "Clear as Day," has gone platinum, meaning more than a million copies have been sold since its release in October. Scotty becomes the first "Idol" winner to score a platinum album since Season 7 winner David Cook.
"Never in a million years did I dream that the album would go platinum in three months," Scotty said through his record company. "It's wild! It's going to take me a few months or years to really wrap my head around it."
"Clear as Day" had previously received gold record certification, meaning 500,000 copies sold. It debuted at No. 1 on both the Billboard Top 200 and Top Country Albums charts. It was No. 1 on the country chart for six weeks, and it received the highest sales of any country solo album released in 2011.
Scotty also has received a gold record for his first single, "I Love You This Big," which he first performed the week he won "Idol" in May. His second single, "The Trouble With Girls," also is approaching gold status.
The third single from the CD hasn't been announced yet. But Scotty and his parents, Mike and Judy McCreery, said they hope it will be one of the upbeat tracks from the CD - maybe "You Make That Look Good" - after the slower tempo of the first two singles.
Today, Scotty is launching a tour with country superstar Brad Paisley and musical group The Band Perry. They will be in Grand Rapids, Mich., tonight, then traveling mainly in the Midwest and West through early March. The closest tour date to North Carolina that has been announced so far is March 1 in Baltimore.
Scotty's parents say they will take turns accompanying him on tour stops.
Though Scotty will be away from Garner High School, where he is a senior, his studies won't be affected. Because of all the tutoring he received during his time on "Idol," Scotty said he will graduate with his class this spring.
"I'll be walking with them!" he said.
Scotty will now be hoping for double platinum status for "Clear as Day" if it sells 2 million copies. The all-time "Idol" champ is Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood, whose 2005 CD "Some Hearts" went septuple platinum, selling more than 7 million copies.
Other North Carolina "Idol" contestants also have reached the platinum sales mark: High Point native Fantasia Barrino, winner of Season 3; McLeansville's Chris Daughtry, who finished fourth in Season 5; and Raleigh native Clay Aiken, who was the runner-up in "Idol's" Season 2.
Aiken returns to reality television next month when he will be a contestant on Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice."