The 17-year-old from North Carolina scooped the recording contract prize over fellow contestant Lauren Alaina in tonight's live finale of the Fox competition. It marked the youngest-ever finale in the show's history.
Both singers had performed three tracks on last night's show: one chosen by them, one selected by celebrity guests Carrie Underwood and George Strait and the song they would release if they won.
"Man, it's been a year since me and Lauren Alaina tried out now. We've been together since day one and we're going to stay together. I gotta thank the Lord first, because he got me here," he said following his win.
McCreery's original song is called 'I Love You This Big'. His performance last night had prompted Randy Jackson to marvel at his vocal maturity, while Jennifer Lopez appreciated his storytelling ability and Steven Tyler applauded his attempt at taking chances every week.
> More pictures from the American Idol season ten finale
The episode opened with the return of this season's Top 13 who took to the stage in all-white for a rendition of Lady GaGa's 'Born This Way'. GaGa herself also appeared later in the show to perform her new single 'The Edge of Glory'.
James Durbin also performed 'Living After Midnight' with Judas Priest while Jacob Lusk and Kirk Franklin took on 'I Smile' with a surprise appearance by Gladys Knight. Casey Abrams sang 'Fat Bottomed Girls' with Jack Black.
The girls then took to the stage for a group medley performance of Beyoncé's songs featuring the singer herself, and Haley Reinhart duetted with Tony Bennett on 'Steppin Out'. Soon after, the boys were given the opportunity to sing with Tom Jones.
Beyoncé also returned later in the show for an acoustic performance for her new single 'One Plus One Plus One'.
TLC also took to the stage to perform some of their classic hits with help from Lil Jon and the Top 13 girls. Later, Marc Anthony sang his latest single 'Aguanile' with an appearance by his wife and Idol judge Jennifer Lopez. Bono and The Edge also appeared with the cast of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark for a performance of 'Rise Above The Dark' from the Broadway show.
The top two also got their chance to perform again, with Scotty McCreery singing 'Live Like You're Dying' with Tim McGraw and Lauren Alaina shared a duet of 'Before He Cheats' with season four Idol champion Carrie Underwood. Judge and Aerosmith rocker Steven Tyler also hit the stage before the results were announced for a version of the band's song 'Dream On'.
American Idol airs on Fox.
More on the American Idol season finale:
> American Idol recap: The finale performances
> Lauren Alaina loses voice before 'Idol' final
> American Idol finale performance night: Pictures
> American Idol attracts record-breaking votes
> Poll result: Who should win American Idol?
> Read our American Idol news, recaps and features
Watch Scotty McCreery performing 'I Love You This Big' below: