“American Idol” champ Scotty McCreery is wasting no time getting his career off the ground. A little more than a week after being crowned season 10 champ, McCreery has signed a major-label deal with Mercury Nashville/ 19 Recordings/ Interscope. He’s also made a bit of history with his debut single, “I Love You This Big.”
According to his new bosses, the embracing country ballad is the highest-charting debut for a new artist in more than two decades. “This Big” hit Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart at #32 last week, the best first-week showing since the magazine started using Nielsen’s BDS-based data in January 1990. The song also hit #1 on iTunes and #3 on the Billboard Digital Songs chart.
“I am humbled and shocked by this news,” McCreery said in a statement. “I can’t tell you what it means to me to be on the same charts as my musical heroes. I want to thank my fans and especially country radio for their support. I continue to be amazed by everything that has happened to me in such a short time.”
While a spokesperson confirmed 17-year-old McCreery is slated to hit Nashville this week to start work on his still-untitled debut, his pal and runner-up, Lauren Alaina, was not left out in the cold. The 16-year-old country/pop singer also scored a major-label deal with Mercury Nashville, and after hitting the CMA Music Fest in Nashville this week, she, too, will begin work on her major-label debut.
Before diving into recording and prepping for the “Idols Live!” summer tour, which kicks off on July 6, McCreery will get some big-deal screen time when he presents at the CMT Music Awards on Wednesday. In addition, he’ll make appearances at a number of CMA Music Festival activities this week, and on Friday, he’ll have his Grand Ole Opry debut with a performance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” to follow on June 15.
“It’s gonna be a good ol’ country album,” McCreery said. “I like to have that old flavor in my music, but with a contemporary feel, so we’ll see where that leads me. I think it’ll be a good little mix.”
Get your “Idol” fix on MTV News’ “American Idol” page , where you’ll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.