'American Idol' ousts Sam Woolf after shocking twist, determining the season's Top 4 finalists
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/02/2014
American Idol's thirteenth season has eliminated another contestant and determined its Top 4 finalists.
Sam Woolf, a 17-year-old from Bradenton, FL, became the ninth finalist sent home from American Idol's thirteenth season after he received the fewest home viewer votes cast following Wednesday night's Top 5 performance show, which featured each contestant singing two songs America had selected for them.
In an Idol twist, each finalist had to vote for whether he or she would like to see one contestant get eliminated this week, or instead, two contestants get eliminated the following week. If no one went home tonight, the finalists would have one more week together.
The decision had to be unanimous for no one to get sent home, but two of the finalists ended up voting for an immediate elimination. The outcome seemed to shock both Idol host Ryan Seacrest and the show's judging panel.
Sam managed to keep his composure and get through his final performance of "It's Time" by Imagine Dragons.
The singer first took the stage Wednesday night with a rendition of "Sing" by Ed Sheeran and had received mixed reviews.
"That's a really tough song particularly because it's such a strong falsetto hook, which wasn't in your wheelhouse. But I thought, given that, you did as good a job as you could on that song. And it was chosen for you," Keith told Sam.
"I liked seeing you really, really relaxed and move around. That's the most comfortable I've seen you singing a song... I did feel you relaxed and I did like that. You said you were going to get funky and you did. For Sam, you were more funky, and I actually thought it was good," Jennifer said.
"The good part for me is that you did something that was totally different. I think of you as a real melody singer... [but] a lot of times during that song, you were laying way back on the vocals, and when you have a band that's plugging that groove so hard behind you, you need to sit in that... pocket... You were actually diffusing some of the funk," Harry explained.
When Sam subsequently performed The Fray's "How To Save A Life" during Wednesday night's performance show, he received similar feedback.
"I'm not going to lie, when you started off, I was like, 'Yikes! What's happening?!' It was a little bit shaky in the beginning, but then, all of a sudden, it became perfect for you and you see why America and I... wanted you to sing that. When you hit the sweet spot in your voice and you really let go, something beautiful happened... It was really good," Jennifer told Sam.
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"I think it really was a perfect song choice for you, but to be complete in my critique, I have to tell you there were some pitch issues. Also... there's still a dynamic issue, Sam. It just seems like all one volume... The last line of the song had a little break in your voice, a little bit of a cry in your voice. I wish you had sung the whole thing like that so it's not just pedal to the metal the whole time," Harry said.
"The beginning I was like, 'Oh, it's shaky. What's going on?' But then as the song opened up, you just hit the placement and I felt like you really started to own the song. So by the end, you had me," Keith told Sam.
Idol's four remaining finalists are Jessica Meuse, Jena Irene, Caleb Johnson, and Alex Preston.