Bradenton's Sam Woolf makes 'American Idol's' Final 12

mclear@bradenton.comFebruary 28, 2014 

Only 12 contestants remain in this year's "American Idol" competition.

One of them is Bradenton's Sam Woolf.

It didn't take long for the 17-year-old Braden River High School senior's legions of fans across the country to find out Thursday he had survived another round -- this time after 71 million votes had been tabulated.

About halfway through the hour-long results show, "Idol" emcee Ryan Seacrest told Woolf he was safe.

It was no surprise.

On Wednesday's show, Woolf delivered yet another solid performance, a slightly slowed version of "Unwell" by Matchbox 20.

Judges again praised the beauty of his singing, although they made pointed suggestions about his delivery needing more energy.

Judge Keith Urban told Woolf he would have liked the vocals on "Unwell" to be more "messed up" to suit the lyrics.

On Thursday, Randy Jackson a former "Idol" judge now coaching contestants, said Woolf was a great singer but was also very shy, and he needs to find a way to bring his performance up to the level of his singing.

That was the closest thing to harsh criticism Woolf has faced during his run on the show, which started with some 75,000 young singers auditioning.

Other segments of Thursday's show made it obvious Woolf is an audience favorite. Other contestants teased him about being America's new heartthrob in the opening moments.

"Sam got all the ladies," one of his fellow contestants said in a taped segment.

Another contestant told him she saw a girl in the audience start to cry when Woolf touched her hand.

"What do you want me to do?" said Woolf while smiling.

"Stop touching people," she said jokingly.

At the end of Thursday's show, another Florida contestant, Kristin O'Connor of Sebastian, was voted off.

Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reaches at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.

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