The judges have been saying they want to see another side of Sam Woolf. They saw it Wednesday but thy were only moderately impressed.
The 17-year-old Braden River High School student was the first of the remaining 11 contestants t perform live or the judges and the public on Wednesday’s episode of “American Idol.”
The theme was “Songs from the Cinema.” Contestants were asked to perform as song that was either written for a movie, or prominently featured in movie. Woolf chose “Come Together,” the Beatles classic hat was used in the 2007 film “Across the Universe.”
It showed a different side of Woolf, who up until now has performed slower, introspective songs.
For “Come Together,” he walked and swayed across the stage and added some more inflection into his signing than he has in some previous performances.
The judges liked it but said they still wanted him to stretch his talents.
“It was great to hear that side of you, because we haven’t heard that side of you, quite that way,” judge Keith Urban said. “I love the way, I said to Jen, the way you’re loosening up a little bit. You can just keep going on that trajectory.”
The “Jen” he referred to was fellow judge Jennifer Lopez, who echoed Urban’s critique.
“It was like little baby rock star,” she said “We need big rock star.”
She called Woolf’s performance “A nice start to the show.”
Harry Connick Jr., who’s been stingier with praise for all the contestants than Lopez and Urban have, called Woolf’s performance “average,” but said it showed that he was a big step forward.
“I really think you’re on the way to where you need to be,” he said.
Before Woolf’s performance, the other finalists got a chance to poke fun of him in a “screen test.” They made good-natured jokes about his youth, his rabid following of young women, and about his hometown.
“I’m Sam Woolf,” said one of them. “I’m 14 years old and I live in a retirement community,” said one of the contestants.
One more contestant will be eliminated through a public vote Sm and his fans will find out tomorrow night, in a results show that starts at 9 p.m. on Fax, whether he’ll proceed to the next round.
This week’s vote is an especially significant one. The 10 finalists who remain after tomorrow will be part of national the “American Idol” tour over the summer.