Things were not going well for Scotty McCreery in 2016. Despite winning the American Idol title five years prior, the country star found himself in a rut.

  "If I'm being honest, things sucked," the 25-year-old admitted to People backstage before a show in Chicago. "2016 was a really rough year. I was questioning a lot of stuff. I was looking for advice from everybody. There was a light at the end of the tunnel but that light felt really far away. It was a long ass tunnel, that's for sure."

  But the North Carolina native isn't one to throw in the towel. "I could either mope and pout or I could pick myself up by the bootstraps and keep marching on," he recalled. "I chose the latter and I'm definitely better for it now."

  The next year, he released his first No. 1 single, "Five More Minutes." In 2018, he dropped a chart-topping album, Seasons Change, and as 2019 takes off, his current single "This Is It" is also moving up the charts.