In an attempt get the judges to use the season's sole save, Sam Woolf sang "Babylon" by David Gray. Would you have used the save on Sam?
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As AMERICAN IDOL XIII enters a landmark season in January 2014, the search continues to find amazing talent from across the nation. Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, and featuring judges Harry Connick, Jr., Jennifer Lopez, and Keith Urban, along with in-house mentor Randy Jackson, the series empowers contestants and viewers to share their voices in deciding who will be America's next singing superstar.
Every year, tens of thousands of hopefuls from across the nation audition for a shot at stardom. The show's judges will travel across the country including stops in Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Detroit, MI; Omaha, NE, Salt Lake City, UT; and San Francisco, CA, in search of the next AMERICAN IDOL. They narrow down the competitors to a select group of semifinalists who sing their hearts out each week in front of a studio audience and television viewers.
The judges have their say after every performance, but it's the viewing public that determines who will advance to become a finalist and who will go home. Telephone, text message and online voting begin immediately after each live performance show, and the results are announced during the following night's live broadcast.
Eventually the competition is whittled down to two finalists who compete for a major recording contract with 19 Recordings and the AMERICAN IDOL title. Past winners Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Scotty McCreery Phillip Phillips, and Candice Glover, as well as fan-favorites Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert, Chris Daughtry, and Katharine McPhee, have all become household names and made their marks on the recording industry.
Top 8 Results - Sam Woolf Sings For The Save! - AMERICAN IDOL SEASON XIII
Jennifer Lopez said those words seconds after Bradenton's Sam Woolf sang David Gray's "Babylon" on "American Idol" Thursday night.
He was singing for his life on the show.
Woolf, a 17-year-old Braden River High School senior, has been near the bottom of public voting three times in the past few weeks. He was last in the number of votes Thursday for the first time.
With only eight finalists remaining, nearly half the contestants were in the bottom three.
On Wednesday, Woolf seemed to satisfy the judges -- Lopez. Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban -- with his reprise of Ed Sheeran's "Lego House." It had been his audition song, and the judges all noted how much he had improved in the weeks since his first appearance. The judges said it had been his best performance ever, and he had improved every single week of the competition.
But all the other finalists had improved, too.
Halfway through the show, real-time voting results showed Woolf near the bottom among voters age 21 and over, but first with younger voters.
Host Ryan Seacrest announced Woolf was again in the bottom three near the end of the 30-minute episode, and after a commercial break, revealed Wolf had come in dead last.
But there was still a chance.
The judges are allowed to overturn the public vote one time during the season. Judges have to agree unanimously to use their save.
The contestant with the fewest votes sings one more time in an effort to sway the judges into using the save. None had managed to do so before Thursday when Woolf did the trick.
After finding he faced elimination, Woolf immediately came on stage and started into "Babylon." He had performed the song way back when 20 contestants remained in the competition, and the judges loved it.
They loved it again.
As soon as he finished, the camera focused on Lopez, who has obviously been pulling for Woolf all the way through the competition.
She leaned into the microphone.
She had to wait for the screaming girls to quiet down before she could give the judges' decision.
They wanted Woolf to stay.
So there are still eight contestants left, and Woolf is one.
From now on, viewer votes are final. Contestants won't get a chance to sings for their TV lives, and the judges can't grant anyone else a reprieve.
The next "American Idol" is scheduled for 8 p.m. Wednesday. Contestants will sing songs from the 1980s. They'll find out the next night in a half-hour results show whether they'll stay on "Idol."
Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.