Bradenton mayor gives 'American Idol' Sam Woolf key to city

Mayor Wayne Poston gives him the key to the city at Pirate City

mclear@bradenton.comMay 8, 2014 

BRADENTON -- He may not be an American idol, but he's certainly a Bradenton star.

Sam Woolf, fresh off his fifth-place finish on "American Idol," was honored at a Wednesday breakfast by about 100 people at Pirate City.

Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston gave the 18-year-old singer a key to the city, and Del Couch announced the Del Couch Music Education Foundation has established a Sam Woolf Music Scholarship Fund.

Woolf said after he tours the country this summer with other top 10 finishers from this season of "American Idol," he hopes to make a record and then start his studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

"How many 18-year-olds have their own music scholarship?" asked Couch. Woolf was a student of Del Couch Music Foundation before his run on "American Idol."

It was another short Bradenton stopover for Woolf. He was voted off "Idol" last week (out of some 75,000 singers who auditioned), then came home for a day before flying to New York to appear on "Live! With Kelly and Michael."

Grandfather Roy Woolf said his grandson looked remarkably relaxed on his most recent television appearance.

"There's no reason for me to be nervous," Woolf told his grandfather. "If I screw up, they just think it's cute."

Woolf is home again briefly, then heads back to Los Angeles to rehearse for the "American Idol" finale and the upcoming "Idol Live" summer tour, which will come July 17 to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota. Tickets go on sale Friday.

Woolf will miss his prom, but he said Wednesday he's working out arrangements with "American Idol" so he can graduate with his class at Braden River High School.

After that, a record deal may be in the near future. That's partly up to 19 Entertainment, the company that produces "American Idol."

If he makes a record after the tour, Woolf said he'll probably delay entering Berklee College of Music, the prestigious music school in Boston. He has already been accepted and has arranged with the college to delay starting classes for a year if needed.

Woolf, often called "shy" by American Idol judges, looked confident and happy through the hour-long event in his honor, posing for pictures, signing portraits of himself commissioned by Realize Bradenton -- the organizer of Wednesday's event -- and thanking supporters during a question-and-answer session about his "Idol" experience.

He and the other four finalists were genuinely close friends, Woolf noted.

It marked the first Wednesday in several months he hasn't been performing live on "American Idol." Someone in the audience asked him if he'd be watching the show Wednesday. Definitely, Woolf answered, but he's not allowed to vote.

Someone else asked who Woolf would vote for if he were allowed to vote.

"If I could vote," he said, "I'd vote for all of them."

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

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