Sam, who was born in West Bloomfield, Michigan and raised in Bradenton, Florida, was a senior in high school when he tried out for the show. He had completed a five-week program at the Berklee College of Music in Boston in the summer of 2013 and was selected as one of the 28 top songwriters for the high school's singer showcase.
Sam auditioned for the show in Boston singing "Lego House" by Ed Sheeran. Impressed by his vocals, the judges sent him through to Hollywood where he did well and made it to the top 30. Sam then took on the David Gray song "Babylon", which earned him a place in the top 13.
For "This Is Me" week, Sam took on "Unwell" by Matchbox Twenty. It earned him praise, and he moved on to next week.
For "Home" week, Sam sang "Just One" by Blind Pilot. Again, he earned praise and moved on to the next week.
For "Songs from the Movies" week, Sam decided to try the Beatles classic "Come Together", which has been covered by various Idol alum such as season 7's Carly Smithson, season 8 winner Kris Allen, and season 12 winner Candice Glover. The song, featured in the film Across The Universe, got Sam a bit of a mixed reaction from the judges with Harry Connick, Jr. calling his performance "average". Sam ended up in the bottom 3 but avoided elimination and made the American Idols Live tour, much to the delight of his fans.
For "Billboard Top 10" week, Sam redeemed himself by singing "We Are Young" by fun. and Janelle Monae. The judges still got after him a bit for his awkward stage presence but prasied for his singing. Sam made it to the next week.
For "I'm with the Band!" week, Sam sang "Hey There Delilah" by Plain White Ts. The performance got him mixed reviews with Jennifer Lopez stating that she wasn't sure if Sam was connecting with the song(she actually wondered if there was a special someone he was singing to), and Keith Urban encouraging Sam to not be so technical when he sings. The performance put Sam back in the bottom 3, but he survived elimination.
For "Back to the Start" week, Sam sang his audition song, "Lego House" by Ed Sheeran. The performance earned him praise from the judges but got him criticized by critics who felt that it was a very weak performance. He then teamed up with Malaya Watson on the Jason Mraz/Colbie Caillat duet "Lucky". However, Sam again wound up in the bottom 3 and had to sing to stay on the show. His performance of his top 30 song, "Babylon" by David Gray, resulted in him becoming the first contestant since season 11's Jessica Sanchez to receive the judges' save.
For "Songs from the 1980s" week, with season 7 winner David Cook mentoring the contestants, Sam sang "The Girl is Mine" by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney in a duet with Alex Preston , and "Time After Time" by Cyndi Lauper for his solo performance. Both performances helped him avoid the bottom 2.
For "Competitor's Choice" week, Sam sang "Let Her Go" by Passenger in a duet with Alex Preston , and "Sail Away" by David Gray solo. Both performances also helped him avoid the bottom 2, and was once again advanced to the top 6.For "Country and Rock and Roll" week, Sam sang two songs: "It's Time" by Imagine Dragons and "You're Still the One" by Shania Twain, previously covered by season 9 winner Lee DeWyze, and was praised by all three judges.
For "America's Request" week, Sam sang "How to Save A Life" by The Frey and "Sing" by Ed Sheeran. He got praise from the judges, who told him that they felt that he was improving every week. He then teamed up with Alex Preston and Jena Irene on "Best Day of My Life" by American Authors. However, those performances would be his last as he was eliminated on May 1, 2014, finishing in 5th place.
|Episode||Theme||Song Choice||Original Artist||Result|
|Audition||Choice||"Lego House"||Ed Sheeran||Advanced|
|Hollywood Week, Part 1||A Capella||"Waiting on the World to Change"||John Mayer||Advanced|
|Hollywood Week, Part 2||Group||"Treasure" with Kristen O'Connor||Bruno Mars||Advanced|
|Hollywood Week, Part 3||Choice||"I Tried"||Sam Woolf||Advanced|
|Top 10 Guys||Choice||"Babylon"||David Gray||Advanced|
|Top 13||This is Me||"Unwell"||Matchbox Twenty||Safe|
|Top 12||Home||"Just One"||Blind Pilot||Safe|
|Top 11||Songs from the Cinemas||"Come Together"||The Beatles||Bottom 3|
|Top 10||Billboard Top 10 Charts||"We are Young"||fun. ft. Janelle Monae||
|Top 9||(I'm With the) Band!||"Hey There Delilah"||Plain White Ts||Bottom 3|
|Top 8||Back to the Start||"Lego House"||Ed Sheeran||Bottom 3/Saved|
|Top 8 (Save)||Songs from the 1980s||"Time After Time"||Cyndi Lauper||Safe|
|Top 7||Competitor's Choice||"Sail Away"||David Gray||Safe|
|Top 6||Country and Rock and Roll||"It's Time"||Imagine Dragons||Safe|
|"You're Still the One"||Shania Twain|
Sam was a part of the American Idols Live tour, which kicked off in Binghamton, New York on June 24, 2014. He got to perform with Phillip Phillips at the Idol finale on May 21, 2014 and even graduated from Braden River High School on May 30, 2014. Sam got the chance to work with Grammy Award-winning producer Danny Blume on his music. His debut EP, Pretend, was released via his official website on December 23, 2014.
- Pretend (2014)
- Sam's fans are known as the "Woolfpack".
- He got the Season 13 save.
- Sam's celebrity crush is singer and actress Ariana Grande.
|Caleb Johnson ·Jena Irene ·Alex Preston ·Jessica Meuse ·Sam Woolf ·CJ Harris ·Dexter Roberts ·Malaya Watson ·Majesty Rose ·MK Nobilette ·Ben Briley ·Emily Piriz ·Kristen O'Connor|
|Bria Anai ·Spencer Lloyd ·Malcolm Allen ·George Lovett ·Briana Oakley ·Marrialle Sellars ·Emmanuel Zidor|
|Jordan Brisbane ·Andrina Brogden ·Kenzie Hall ·Ethan Harris ·Jillian Jensen ·Briston Maroney ·Brandy Neelly ·Casey Thrasher ·Maurice Townsend ·Austin Wolfe|