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Bradenton's Sam Woolf ready to defy odds on 'American Idol': interview

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SOURCE: americanidolbettingodds.com. PHOTOS / FOX TELEVISION. STAFF GRAPHIC: BARRY McCARTHY.

It’s late Tuesday morning in Los Angeles and Sam Woolf— shy as always and extra cautious thanks to a Fox publicist who's again on the line to keep reality show secrets secret — is promoting his performance Wednesday on “American Idol.”

The annoyingly vague theme of this week’s episode is “I’m with the Band,” which means the contestants perform while being backed by musical director Rickey Minor and the rest of the professional musicians who have been accompanying them all season. The Bradenton student struggles to describe what he will perform. Remember, there’s not much he can say.

“It’s going to be more of a slower song,” Woolf says. “I’m going to play guitar.”

A contemporary or a classic song?

“A contemporary song,” the 17-year-old says, after pausing for permission from the publicist.

Check our Sam Woolf website

Woolf has hit the big time. Down to nine contestants this week; just reaching the Top 10 guaranteed the senior at Braden River High School a spot on this summer’s annual “American Idol Live Tour” that regularly fills arenas such as the Tampa Bay Times Forum. But Woolf’s chances at being crowned the next “Idol” are slipping.

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Sam Woolf / FOX

For three weeks in a row, the American Idol Betting Odds website had Woolf as the favorite to win. As of Tuesday, he was tied for fourth at 8/1 odds, with Dexter Roberts, the country singer from Alabama. Blame it on Woolf’s misguided performance of The Beatles’ “Come Together” followed last week by a stronger, but not exactly jaw-dropping, rendering of Fun’s recent smash “We Are Young.”

After being featured enjoying himself at dinner with the other contestants, and then waiting around on live TV for most of the hour-long broadcast last Thursday, Woolf finally learned he avoided the bottom three, the spot he found himself on the previous week’s results show.

“Yeah, I was nervous,” Woolf says. “I thought for a second I was going to go to the stools (for the bottom three) again.”

Our local hero became the favorite to win last month following his gripping performance of “I Tried.” Woolf, who has the richest, most pitch-perfect vocals of anyone on this season’s edition of “American idol,” wrote the song. It’s painful and gorgeous and melodic and, well, a great pop song. Give Woolf another opportunity to show the voters from across the country who will decide his fate another original and, I’m betting, he’s back as the favorite. But even Woolf, answering without any hesitation this time, doesn’t know if he will get to display that other key component of his talent again.

“I hope so,” he says, “they said maybe later, but I’m not really for sure.”

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



Wade_Tatangelo_by_Mike_Lang_HT_06212013
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 26, 2014
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