By Kyle Anderson
Updated May 26, 2011 at 06:00 PM EDT

American Idol winner Scotty McCreery almost certainly wouldn’t have become as big as he is going to get (and you can count on this guy being huge, perhaps challenging Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood for Idol-alum dominance) had he not gotten on television—mostly because you need the juxtaposition of his baby face with the rich, nuanced, weathered baritone that comes out of it. Every time McCreery took the stage, it was a little bit jarring, and it certainly kept him in the game and pushed him to the victory.

But without any visual accompaniment, does Scotty McCreery still work? Based on “I Love You This Big,” the answer is, tentatively, yes. McCreery said that he didn’t think the song quite matched his potential, but it’s an ideal vehicle to present him to the world. The simple, ambling melody offers plenty of crevices into which he can pour his rich voice, and the lyric sheet is an excellent combination of wide-eyed, youthful earnestness and knowing veteran wisdom. There’s even a tongue-in-cheek nod to his rather eccentric approach to facials (he actually sings the line “I know I look a little crazy,” which can’t simply be a coincidence).

All told, “I Love You This Big” doesn’t have “instant smash” written on it (it isn’t quite catchy or dynamic enough), but it’s a better showcase than Lauren Alaina’s “Like My Mother Does,” and it gets across everything that Scotty is in about three minutes. This guy is going to sell a billion albums, and this is as good a start as you could want. B+

Is Scotty McCreery’s track better than Lauren Alaina’s, or does “Like My Mother Does” reign supreme? Let us know in the comments.

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