Sam Woolf shifted gears with his rendition of Shania Twain's "You're Still The One." Will America's votes swing Sam's way?
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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 6 - Sam Woolf "You're Still The One" - AMERICAN IDOL XIII
Sam Woolf's fans have grown used to white-knuckle evenings.
More often than not in recent weeks they've had to wait until the last seconds of Thursday's "American Idol" to find out whether Woolf is staying on the show for one more week.
The Bradenton singer-songwriter has come closer to elimination than any other remaining contestant. He's been near the bottom of the vote tallies several times. A few weeks back, he earned the lowest vote total, but the judges used their one save of the season to keep him on.
This week, the voters and "American Idol" producers gave Woolf fans a break.
He was the first of six remaining contestants to learn he was safe for another week.
Despite all the close calls, it wasn't especially surprising Woolf, who turned 18 over the weekend, was promoted to the final five. He turned in his strongest performance yet Wednesday with an energetic rendition of the Imagine Dragons' song "It's Time."
Judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. all raved about his performance. They also liked his second song Wednesday, Shania Twain's "You're Still the One," but weren't quite as enthusiastic in their praise.
On Thursday's results show, Randy Jackson, the former "Idol" judge who now coaches contestants, said Woolf's performance this week would probably move him up a notch or two in the rankings.
Then host Ryan Seacrest summoned Woolf, Caleb Johnson and C.J. Harris onto the stage. He immediately announced Woolf was safe. Then Johnson. Harris was one of the two cellar-dwellers for the week.
Jessica Meuse joined Harris in the bottom two, but it was Harris who ended up being eliminated.
Harris performed the Marshall Tucker Band's "Can't You See?" as his farewell song.
Woolf is now one of only five contestants remaining out of roughly 75,000 who auditioned for "American Idol" this season.
He'll perform live again next week on a two-hour show scheduled to start at 8 p.m. Wednesday on Fox.
A live results show the next night will let his fans know whether he's made it to the top four.
Woolf and the other top 10 finishers will tour the country this summer with the "American idol Live!" tour. It's scheduled to stop July 17 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota.
Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.