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'American Idol' finalist Sam Woolf brings spotlight to Bradenton

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Bradenton student Sam Woolf seen performing on Fox's "American Idol" television show Wednesday, March 5, 2014.

Sam Woolf brought the spotlight to his hometown of Bradenton during Wednesday's episode of Fox's “American Idol.”

The theme was “home” and Woolf, one of the 12 finalists out of 75,000 contestants, got his turn to perform well into the second hour of the broadcast. An opening montage included a “Welcome to Bradenton” sign as well as a shot of Braden River High School, where Woolf is a senior.

As for his performance, the 17-year-old chose a rather obscure number, “Just One,” by West Coast indie-folk band Blind Pilot. Again pitch perfect and demonstrating he has the most sonorous voice on this season's “American Idol,” Woolf sounded like a star.

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Bradenton resident Sam Woolf's Braden River High School as seen on Fox's "American Idol" television show Wednesday, March 5, 2014.

But Woolf still couldn't manage to display the kind of star-making charisma that makes judges and record company executives get all slack jaw. Harry Connick Jr. and Jennifer Lopez praised Woolf while encouraging him to basically let loose.

The strongest feedback, though, came from the third judge, country music superstar Keith Urban, who said Woolf's vocal tone was “like butter,” guaranteed he'd make it through the next round of nationwide voting and, sweetest of all, told the world he would gladly go out and buy an album of Sam Woolf original songs.

“I'm definitely having fun but it's not what I expected,” said Woolf when interviewed after the 'Idol” broadcast by local television station Fox 13.

A contestant will be eliminated on tonight's episode of the show. I'll be live tweeting starting at 8 p.m. from @wtatangelo.

"American Idol" airs at 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays on Fox. Check out our Sam Woolf website with interviews we conducted, more videos, photo galleries and reviews of his performances on "Idol."



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WADE TATANGELO is the editor of TICKET + and a contributor at TicketSarasota.com. He has been an entertainment editor, reporter, columnist and reviewer for more than a decade at publications nationwide. He is a Hershey, Pa., native who grew up in Tampa and graduated from the University of South Florida. Wade joined the Herald-Tribune in 2013. He can be reached by email or call (941) 361-4955.
Last modified: March 6, 2014
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