'American Idol' contestant Sam Woolf plays 2 local shows

mclear@bradenton.comFebruary 7, 2014 

BRADENTON -- Bradenton's Sam Woolf, the 17-year-old singer who's been impressing the judges and advancing through the ranks on "American Idol," will perform two free concerts Saturday in the Bradenton area.

He'll perform first at 11 a.m. at the farmer's market on Old Main Street in Bradenton. He'll play for about an hour from the balcony of O'Brick's Irish Pub at 427 Old Main St.

In the evening, Woolf will

perform at Sutton Park on Sixth Street in Palmetto. That concert starts at 4 p.m., but Woolf is set to take the stage at 6 p.m.

"He'll be arriving in a limo," said Del Couch, founder and director of the Del Couch Music Education Foundation. "We're doing the whole nine yards."

Woolf has been working with the foundation for about a year and a half, recording original songs and polishing his performance. Other foundation musicians will fill out the bill for the Sutton Park concert.

This week, on the first of two "American Idol" episodes, Woolf impressed judges Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban with a performance of John Mayer's "Waiting on the World to Change" that earned him a ticket to the group audition round.

Thursday's "Idol" showed performances by several groups, but Woolf's performance did not air. He has, however, made this week's cuts and is one of the 77 remaining contestants.

In a tweet, Woolf indicated he'll appear on the next "Idol" episode at 8 p.m. next Wednesday on Fox.

Back in his January audition in Boston, Woolf advanced to Hollywood with a rendition of Ed Sheeran's "Lego House" that had all three judges trying to outdo each other in praise of the Braden River High student.

On Wednesday's show, before he sang the Mayer song, he passed a new round called "Hollywood or Home." Fifty contestants sang for the judges right after they arrived in Los Angeles, before they even unpacked. Some were immediately sent home, but Woolf earned the chance to perform in the next round.

Woolf appeared later in the show Thursday, rehearsing dance steps for the group audition round.

Couch said although Woolf has performed only covers so far on the show, he performed his original songs off-camera for the "Idol" judges, and they have all been impressed.

"He's an excellent songwriter," Couch said. "His songs are great. He's writing more every day."

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