Sam Burchfield is the Phillip Phillips fan who walked into the audition room looking a bit like Phillip, right down to wearing flip flops.
But his audition was nothing like Phillip’s.
Sam thrilled the judges with a confident and humorous performance of “I Wanna Be Like You” from the Jungle Book.
Well, two of the judges. Harry Connick Jr. wasn’t so thrilled, but Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban gave him the two votes he needed to advance to Hollywood.
In fact, Keith not only said he loved Sam’s voice, he also complimented him on his guitar playing.
On Facebook, we learn that this isn’t the first singing competition for the 21-year-old student at the University of Georgia.
Judging from a photo there, he won a first-place prize of $5,000 in a campus superstar competition at some point.
His Facebook bio says he’s also been performing with a local band called Street Rhythm & Rhyme and is working toward putting out a debut album.
He classifies his genre as acoustic guitar, folk-jazz-pop, fusion bluesoul. Wow.
Sam says one of his biggest influences growing up is the Christian rock band Needtobreathe. They’re also from his hometown of Seneca, S.C.
“They recently opened for Taylor Swift, which was really cool,” he says in his Road to Hollywood video. “That was a big — ‘Wow, I could do that. People from a small town can still play music for a living. You can still make it happen.’”
He thinks the fact that he’s an artist who’s been writing songs and performing since high school will help set him apart on the show.
“I’m not going to let anyone tell me I can’t play music for a living,” he adds. “It’s going to happen. I’m going to play music the rest of my life, even if I have to scrub toilets at night so I can play music the rest of the day.”
I’ve embedded video of him performing below. You can find more on his YouTube channel.
“Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” (John Mayer cover)
“Say My Name/Too Close” (cover with Ali Riehm)
“Not With Haste” (Mumford & Sons cover)