Scotty McCreery couldn't be happier, which was obvious when the newly crowned champ of "American Idol" season 10 spent his coronation song hugging anyone within reaching distance. So will the glow of his victory ever wear off? One fellow "Idol" winner doesn't think so.
"Carrie Underwood asked us when we met her, 'Your cheeks hurt yet?' " McCreery laughed to reporters backstage after Wednesday night's (May 25) finale, recalling a conversation with a woman who knows a thing or two about being in his shoes. "I'll be smiling for a good while now, I promise that."
Aside from hobnobbing with the country superstar, McCreery has also gotten tight with the "Idol" judges, who are pretty famous in their own right.
"They're wonderful," he said. "When they first walked out [during the audition], I was intimidated. I was like, 'Oh my goodness, it's Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler [and] Randy Jackson.' But after a few weeks, they were just like friends to us. They were just joking around with us backstage. It's been really great getting to know them. They're really normal people, they really are."
McCreery isn't expecting to nab big names like Underwood and Lopez on his debut album; he looked a little bit closer to home for that, name-dropping fellow finalist Lauren Alaina. "Me and Lauren have talked about it for a while," he teased of a potential duet. "We'll see if that works out. It'd be really cool."
While "Idol" fans know Scotty as a singer, that isn't his only talent. As we learned from his friends and family in Garner, North Carolina, McCreery is a heck of an athlete too. "Sports and music have been my two main things in life," he said. "Baseball is my number one other than music. Hopefully I can get back out on the mound and see if I have anything left in the cannon."
Which reminds us: This "Idol" champ is still in high school. And, unfortunately, he has an AP exam to tackle on Thursday.
"I'm still a kid," he smiled. "I'm still 17. I'm a junior. We'll see. Hopefully I pass it!"
Don't miss a special edition of "Idol Party Live" Thursday at noon on MTV.com for analysis, finale red-carpet coverage and the last "Idol in 60 Seconds" of season 10. Get in the conversation by tweeting with the hashtag #idolparty! In the meantime, get your "Idol" fix on MTV News' "American Idol" page, where you'll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.