The judges call him a "natural," but that doesn't mean 'American Idol' contestant Scotty McCreery hasn't worked hard to get to the final rounds of the singing competition. His newest fans will be impressed to learn that the high school junior is a classically trained vocalist who had to understand concepts like breath support and posture long before things like wardrobe and Lady Gaga.

Meredith Clayton, McCreery's choral director at Garner Magnet High School in Garner, N.C., tells Taste of Country that she didn't know her student could sing anything but choral music until he was preparing to audition for 'Idol.' She's worked with him since his freshman year and adds that he wasn't always the reliable bass viewers see today.

"He used to sing tenor when he was in ninth grade, and he came back one summer and said, 'Ms. Clayton, I don't think I can do that anymore' [laughs]," she reveals. Clayton was able to visit McCreery in Hollywood, and to be in studio during the Carole King round.

"His mom about has a heart attack every time he's about to sing," she says before admitting she was just as bad that night. "His mom was like, 'I live this every week!'"

Clayton hopes to see McCreery come home this weekend after America votes the country singer into the final three. If not, she's already sent a message that thousands of friends and fans back home support: "I just told him I was so proud of him [and] he way he's handling himself. I think throughout the whole thing he's trying to be a gentleman and be a very classy guy."

Watch Scotty McCreery Sing 'Where Were You' on 'Idol'