OFFSTAGE: Scotty McCreery Hangs In There on American Idol

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Is it bad that the thing I liked the best on American Idol Thursday night (May 19) was the background music? Well, that and Scotty McCreery’s copious tears. (He sobbed at least three times during his hometown trip back to North Carolina — in the limo, at the grocery store where he used to work and onstage. It was sweet.) But first, during Haley Reinhart’s day back in the Chicago suburbs, Lady Antebellum’s “Hello World” was playing. Then during the final three contestants’ day of volleyball, sandcastle building and kite flying, Uncle Kracker’s “Smile” was there in the background. And during Lauren Alaina’s hometown trip, both Carrie Underwood’s “Flat on the Floor” and Martina McBride’s “Anyway” serenaded her. All such great songs and ones that remind us of why we love television shows that find new people to sing them. Ultimately, it was McCreery, 17, and Alaina, 16, who were chosen to go on to next week’s finale. When it was time for Reinhart to sing herself off the show, she took it like a champ. “I rocked it out. And I had a blast, and this is only the beginning,” she says before pouring her soulful voice all over her take on Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets.” Tell me again why she’s going home?