Bradenton's Sam Woolf cracks 'American Idol' top 9

Braden River High School heartthrob has to wait entire show to learn his fate

mclear@bradenton.comMarch 21, 2014 

Sam Woolf performs during the auditions for "American Idol" in Boston. FOX

If Sam Woolf's fans were hoping for another week as tense the last one, they were disappointed.

But only a little.

The 17-year-old Bradenton singer ended up dangerously near elimination in the bottom three on last week's "American Idol," following an uninspired performance of the Beatles' "Come Together." Even Woolf said he wasn't surprised the performance garnered so few votes.

This week, he impressed at least two of the three judges with his rendition of "We Are Young" by Fun.

Jennifer Lopez swayed and sang along as Woolf performed. Afterward, she told him she "loved it."

Keith Urban said he didn't have to bother saying much to Woolf because he was sure he would be back again.

Harry Connick Jr., though, said Woolf still seemed "timid."

On Thursday's results show, Sam and his fans had to be a little antsy. He wasn't in the bottom three, but it took nearly the whole show to learn

his fate.

Early in the show, host Ryan Seacrest called three contestants onto the stage.

Woolf wasn't one of them.

Ryan told Dexter Roberts, who had performed a song by Florida Georgia Line, that he was in the bottom three. The other two were safe.

After Jennifer Lopez performed her new single, Seacrest announced two more contestants -- again, not including Woolf -- were safe.

But Majesty Rose, who was on the bottom three last week, got the news she was near the bottom again.

That left four finalists with one more spot to fill in the bottom three.

A new pop band from Louisiana called Royal Teeth performed as Woolf waited offstage.

When Seacrest summoned the final group of four contestants he told one he was safe.

Then another.

Only Woolf and one other contestant remained.

When Seacrest announced Woolf was safe from elimination, the singer exhaled sharply, looking surprised by the good news.

M.K. Nobilette was the last to learn she was in the bottom three and she turned out to be the finalist who received the fewest votes from the public.

She was given a chance to perform one more time for the judges, who are allowed to overturn voter decisions one time during the season.

This wasn't the time. Nobilette was sent home.

That leaves Woolf, a Braden River High School senior, among nine remaining finalists.

He'll perform again at 8-10 p.m. Wednesday on Fox.

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

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