Garner High School junior Scotty McCreery cleared a major hurdle Thursday in his "American Idol" quest. In a two-hour live broadcast of the top-rated singing competition, McCreery was the first contestant named as a top-12 finalist for this season.
This week, 24 remaining contestants sang for the votes of "Idol" viewers. McCreery's performance of John Michael Montgomery's "Letters From Home" was very well-received.
Half of the 24 were sent packing Thursday. Four other males and five females were named finalists based on viewer votes. Judges also named a couple of "wild card" picks.
McCreery's finals competition will include quirky Casey Abrams, powerhouse diva Pia Toscano, melodramatic Jacob Lusk and perky high-schoolers Lauren Alaina and Thia Megia.
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The finalists will perform at 8 p.m. Wednesday on Fox. The singer with the fewest viewer votes will be eliminated the following night.