Back in 2011, Scotty McCreery and Jimmie Allen competed against one another on Season 10 of “American Idol.” Allen would end up failing to reach the top 24, but McCreery would end up winning it all.

And as both have worked their way to country music success in the years since then, they never forgot one another, to the point that McCreery is currently taking Allen out with him on his “Seasons Change Tour.”

SCOTTY MCCREERY
With: Jimmie Allen and Heather Morgan
When: 6:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn
Tickets: $32.50-$35
Info: houseofblues.com

“Yeah, we’ve known each other for a while,” McCreery says about Allen, who is currently enjoying the top spot on the charts courtesy of his hit song “Best Shot.” “We’ve always been rooting for each other. He’s one of the good guys and a bit of an underdog, kinda like me.”

And if anyone loves an underdog, its McCreery. Because while the North Carolina native found quick success soon after his “American Idol” win, it took him until this year to finally get his first No. 1 hit with “Five More Minutes.”

“It’s certainly nice to put that hurdle behind me,” says McCreery, who brings his “Seasons Change Tour” to the House of Blues on Sunday. “2018 has been filled with changes both professionally and personally, so I would say its been my favorite year that I have ever had.”

Scotty McCreery and Gabi Dugal arrive at the 52nd annual CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. | Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Scotty McCreery and Gabi Dugal arrive at the CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 14, 2018, in Nashville. | AP

Good news has been coming in at a rapid pace for McCreery this year. His current album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard country albums chart when it was released in March. And his latest single, “This Is It,” is looking like it just might be his next Top 10 hit.

“I’m a bit of a numbers cruncher,” he laughs. “I do watch where things are on the charts but really it is what it is when it comes down to it. But right now, we are definitely heading in the right direction.”

Another song off his “Seasons Change” album called “Barefootin'” just took home “National Song of the Year” at the 2018 Carolina Beach Music Awards.

“I was out shopping a few weeks back and heard it playing and then I went to the gym and I heard it again,” McCreery says of the song, which he co-wrote alongside David Lee Murphy and Frank Rogers. “People have really latched on to it. Hey, if it makes people happy, it’s worth it.”

Also this year, McCreery married the love of his life, Gabi Dugal, back in June. The video for “This is It” documents the couple’s picturesque wedding day.

“I just couldn’t see an actress and actor playing our parts,” says McCreery, who wrote the song as he was getting up the nerve to propose to his longtime love back in 2017. “But in general, we loved sharing our day with the fans in that way. Gabi had a couple of moments that she wanted to fix or not show in the video, but I think it turned out perfect.”

The video has been viewed over 21 million times on YouTube since it’s release in July of this year.

“My fans are phenomenal,” says McCreery. “It really has been a great seven years. You never know how long you are going to have in this business, but my fans have always been there through thick and thin. The fact that they are out here always supporting and buying my music and going to my shows means the world to me.”

McCreery says the remainder of 2018 will be spent getting used to being married and the changes ahead for the couple come 2019.

“Gabi is doing more decorating at home so it vibes a little more with her taste,” he says, laughing. “She’s starting up a new nursing job in January, so that’s something else we will be adjusting to in the New Year.”

And professionally, 2019 looks to land McCreery back in the studio creating new music,

“The bar has been set really high for sure, so its going to be tough to top 2018,” he adds. “I would love to see ‘This Is It’ become my second No. 1 [hit]. And creatively, let’s just say that my phone is flooded with ideas and hooks and things I want to say. I’ve always been one that would have to wait for that spark to get in the studio and start writing, but this year has been the biggest spark of them all.”

Tricia Despres is a freelance writer.