Many aspiring musicians busk for tips at restaurants and bars, but few  find national exposure in a matter of weeks, as has 17-year-old Sam Woolf. As only the third audition we saw in the January 15 premiere, Sam made an early impression — and a good one! 

He's one of Top 31 for American Idol's 2014 go-round, aka Season 13, and showed why he earns the spot in the February 12 episode of Hollywood Week, singing an original song about his mother moving out called "I Try."

"I've been singing for as long as I can remember," Sam says on his personal website. "Music is my life. I play guitar and like to write my own songs. If I had to describe my music, I would say it falls in the lines of acoustic/folk/rock with a little pop. My songs mean a lot to me, and I want to share them with the world."

Sam honed his performance skills singing for patrons of MacAllisters Grill & Tavern in Lakewood Ranch, Florida for six weeks this past summer. Then, he told the restaurant's proprietors, Karen and Malcolm Rooney, that he was going on vacation.

A few weeks later, the Idol producers rang up the restaurant, hoping to film a segment — the first time they heard that he had even auditioned.

"He's not talking very much about it," Karen tells the Bradenton Herald. "He's very humble."

As the cameras rolled, Sam returned to MacAllister's to play one more time, singing a cover of Ed Sheeran's "The A Team," like the one you can hear on YouTube.

And he won over the crowd, including teenage girls, one of whom told the Herald: "He's just so talented and so attractive. I guess I know who I'm going to root for on American Idol this year."

Looks like he has a good shot!

Sources: Bradenton Herald, Sam Woolf Music


Dan Clarendon is an assistant editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow him on Twitter and Google+!