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Review: Bradenton's Sam Woolf covers Shania Twain, Imagine Dragons on 'Idol'

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Sam singing Shania screenshot

Bradenton student Sam Woolf performs Wednesday, April 23, 2014, on the Fox show "American Idol."

Following a strong showing and 18th birthday last week, Bradenton high school student Sam Woolf displayed the kind of charisma tonight that has been missing from his past performances on "American Idol."  The Top Six – C.J. Harris, Jena Irene, Caleb Johnson, Jessica Meuse, Alex Preston and Woolf – sang two songs apiece.Each contestant performed a rock song in the first hour and a country song in the second and final hour of the show. It seemed as if Woolf garnered the strongest overall reviews from judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr.

Woolf, a senior at Braden River High School, took the stage about 15 minutes into the episode to give a winning performance of the 2012 indie rock power ballad “It's Time” by Imagine Dragons. Consistently applauded for his vocal skills, Woolf has also been criticized for his lack of stage presence and ability to connect with an audience. No tonight. He took the lyric about taking a stance and sold it with aplomb.

"Sam, I got goosies on that one," Lopez said.

"That's a great song for you," said toughest-critic Connick. "(You're) blossoming man."

"There (had) gravitas, a weight about it," Urban said.

For his country song, Woolf chose Shania's Twain “You're Still the One.” I wasn't sure Woolf could make the 1998 country-pop ballad come alive, make it connect with the crowd in front of him, the judges and, most important, television audience that determines his fate on the show via votes. “You're Still the One” is a slow-burning romantic number that requires a certain amount of showmanship to pull off. Woolf accomplished this with another flawless vocal and some much-needed interaction with his army of female fans occupying the front row of the Los Angeles sound stage.

"You're so cute it's crazy,"  Lopez said, echoing, I'm sure, the thoughts of many girls and women.

The results show airs at 9 p.m. Thursday on Fox. For live updates and commentary follow me on Twitter.

For interviews we conducted, videos, photo galleries and reviews of his performances on "Idol," visit our Sam Woolf page.



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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 and writes the weekly Bar Tab column. He can be reached by email or call (941) 361-4955.
Last modified: April 24, 2014
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