COMMENTS

Sam Woolf ready for 'American Idol' homecoming shows

/
Bradenton's Sam Woolf returns home July 17 to sing at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall following a fifth place finish on this season's "American Idol." (Credit: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting.)

Bradenton's Sam Woolf returns home July 17 to sing at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall following a fifth place finish on this season's "American Idol." (Credit: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting.)

Several dates into the nationwide “American Idol Live!” tour and Sam Woolf sounds confident about his new gig as a traveling performer. The recent graduate of Braden River High School in Bradenton became nearly as famous for his shyness as his singing and songwriting skills during a fifth place finish this season on “American Idol.” During a recent phone interview from a tour stop in Ohio, though, the 18-year-old exudes budding star power.

“It’s awesome, we all get a rush,” Woolf says of recent performances at theaters in New York, Ontario and Illinois. “The first show was kind of nerve-racking because we didn’t know how many people would show but it was good. All the shows so far have been good and yesterday’s was the best so far.”

AMERICAN IDOL XIII: Top 10: Clockwise from Left: Dexter Roberts, Alex Preston, Sam Woolf, Jessica Meuse, Caleb Johnson, C.J. Harris, MK Nobilette, Majesty Rose, Jena Irene, and Malaya Watson on AMERICAN IDOL XIII airing Thursday, March. 13 (9:00-10:00 PM ET / PT) on FOX. CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 / FOX Broadcasting.

AMERICAN IDOL XIII: Top 10: Clockwise from Left: Dexter Roberts, Alex Preston, Sam Woolf, Jessica Meuse, Caleb Johnson, C.J. Harris, MK Nobilette, Majesty Rose, Jena Irene, and Malaya Watson. (Credit: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting.)

Woolf will perform in front of family, friends and some of his most ardent supporters July 17 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota and then July 18 at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. The show will also feature performances by “American Idol” season 13 winner Caleb Johnson and runner-up Jena Irene, as well as the rest of the Top 10, which includes C.J. Harris, Jessica Meuse, MK Nobilette, Alex Preston, Dexter Roberts, Majesty Rose and Malaya Watson.

“The guys and girls ride on separate buses,” Woolf explains. “But when we get to explore the cities it’s usually me, Alex, Jena, Caleb and C.J.”

They pass the time making up funny freestyle raps and joking around with each other.

“Caleb is probably the biggest jokester,” Woolf says. “I’m the worst rapper ever.”

During his rise to the finals in “American Idol,” Woolf’s fan base joined forces under the #Woolfpack hashtag on Twitter. “Woolfpack" signs have made regular appearances at shows. So have numerous members of Woolf’s nearly 90,000 Twitter followers.

AIWoolfSolo0326

Sam Woolf performs on "American Idol." (Credit Frank Micelotta / FOX. Copyright 2014 / FOX Broadcasting.)

“It’s crazy,” Woolf says of looking out into the audience and seeing “Woolfpack” signs. “And then we do these meet and greets before and after the shows and here are these people who were messaging me on Twitter.”

Woolf’s contributions during the “American Idol Live!” show start with a solo in the opening number. He’ll also perform an acoustic-guitars duet with Preston and an unlikely trio performance with Preston and Harris. Plus, there will be just Woolf and his guitar on a couple numbers, including his popular rendition of “Lego House.”

“It’s been getting the biggest crowd reaction,” Woolf says of Ed Sheeran’s folk-pop ballad. “A lot of people know that song and it’s fun to play.”

The Bradenton resident is also required to do some wardrobe changes.

“I have more than the girls,” Woolf says. “I have eight, but they let us pick what we wanted to wear and I kind of cheated them. I wear the same pants and just change my shirts.”

And what about all those hats producers made Woolf wear on the television broadcasts?

“None this time,” Woolf says. “I told them, ‘No.’”

Mayor Wayne Poston and Sam Woolf have a laugh about the key to the city of Bradenton Wednesday, May 7 at welcome home breakfast that was held for "American Idol" finalist at Pirate City. (May 07, 2014) (Herald-Tribune staff photo by Rachel S. O'Hara)

Mayor Wayne Poston and Sam Woolf have a laugh about the key to the city of Bradenton on Wednesday, May 7, at welcome home breakfast that was held for the "American Idol" finalist at Pirate City. (Herald-Tribune staff photo by Rachel S. O'Hara)

Alas, Woolf couldn’t convince producers to let him perform any of his original songs during the tour; not even “I Tried,” the poignant number that endeared him to television viewers nationwide.

“It’s a little disappointing,” Woolf says. “But it’s all right for this tour.”

He repeats, for emphasis, “For this tour.”

Woolf is a gifted singer-songwriter with a scholarship waiting for him at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. It’s a scholarship he plans to use not this fall, but next. This year, Woolf plans to relocate to Los Angeles or Nashville and put out a solo album.

He had about an album’s worth of original material ready before he auditioned for “Idol.” Woolf has since written 40 more songs with seven or eight worthy of release, he says. The style of the album will likely depend, though, on if “American idol” decides to produce the collection.

“They have an option to do the record with us,” Woolf says. “And I probably won’t know until after the tour, this is an observational period. If they do, I hope they let me put out the music I want, an album of all originals.”

Visit our Sam Woolf page at ticketsarasota.com/sam-woolf for past interviews, reviews, photo galleries of local appearances and videos of his performances this season on "American Idol."

AMERICAN IDOL LIVE!
Sam Woolf, C.J. Harris, Jena Irene, Caleb Johnson, Jessica Meuse, MK Nobilette, Alex Preston, Dexter Roberts, Majesty Rose and Malaya Watson.
8 p.m. Thursday, July 17; Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; $55-$105; 953-3368; vanwezel.org.
8 p.m. Friday, July 18; Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater; $60.50-$150; (727) 791-7400; rutheckerdhall.com.

AMERICAN IDOL LIVE!
Sam Woolf, C.J. Harris, Jena Irene, Caleb Johnson, Jessica Meuse, MK Nobilette, Alex Preston, Dexter Roberts, Majesty Rose and Malaya Watson.
8 p.m. Thursday, July 17; Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; $55-$105; 953-3368; vanwezel.org.
8 p.m. Friday, July 18; Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater; $60.50-$150; (727) 791-7400; rutheckerdhall.com.
sam and wade by rachel ohara CROP
WADE TATANGELO, pictured here with Sam Woolf (left), 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: July 24, 2014
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published without permissions. Links are encouraged.
COMMENTS