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Bradenton's Sam Woolf advances on 'American Idol'

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AMERICAN IDOL XIII: Sam Woolf performs on AMERICAN IDOL XIII airing Wednesday, March 26 (8:00-10:00 PM ET / PT) on FOX. CR: Frank Micelotta / FOX. Copyright 2014 / FOX Broadcasting.

Local student Sam Woolf found himself among the bottom three again Thursday, joined by Majesty Rose and C.J. Harris. With about five minutes left in the shortened 9-9:30 p.m. broadcast of “American Idol” Thursday, there was a very good chance the Braden River High School senior would no longer be competing for the coveted title.

Fortunately, the 17-year-old Woolf was safe.

Rose had to sing for the judges’ sole save. She gave it her all, but it wasn’t enough. Woolf is now in the Top 8.

On Wednesday, Woolf turned in another musically solid performance that lacked a certain “wow” factor and fell short of convincing the celebrity judges — Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr. — that our boy from Bradenton has the stage presence required to be the next “American Idol.”

The senior at Braden River High School performed "Hey There Delilah," the smash 2006 ballad by pop punk band Plain White T’s, Wednesday. Woolf implemented his pitch-perfect, sonorous vocals but left the judges wanting more during the Top 9 episode with the meaningless theme “I’m with the Band.” It was pretty, but didn’t pack much emotional punch.

The judges all seemed obsessed with who Woolf’s “Delilah” — the romantic interest in the song — might be in real life. Pressed by host Ryan Seacrest, Woolf said it was his grandmother. When not in Los Angeles doing “Idol” stuff, he lives with her and his grandfather in Bradenton.

But it’s the public, not the judges, whose votes can make or break a contestant, and Woolf is still finding favor with his fans.

“Tonight was the most comfortable I have felt on the stage and I hope to continue to grow each week,” Woolf said Wednesday after his performance. “I really thought it was a good song choice for me.”

"American Idol" airs next 8 p.m. Wednesday on Fox. Check out our Sam Woolf website with interviews we conducted, videos, photo galleries and reviews of his performances on "Idol" at ticketsarasota.com/sam-woolf.



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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 27, 2014
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