Season 13

The American Idol judges save Sam Woolf

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Maybe the young girls who watched American Idol needed a little nudge to start voting with more fervor.

If so, they got it Thursday night.

Sam Woolf sings to adoring fans on American Idol earlier this season. (FOX Photo)

Sam Woolf sings to adoring fans on American Idol earlier this season. (FOX Photo)

Sam Woolfe, billed as the Season 13 cutie, came within a judges’ save away from elimination.

But Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban decided to use their one and only chance to rescue a singer, prompting one of the most undeserved confetti showers in Idol history.

Congratulations, Sam, you just landed in the bottom three for the third time in six weeks.

Congratulations, Sam, you just sleep-walked through a save-me performance that showed no signs that you’ve conquered the assigned task: getting more comfortable on the Idol stage.

And while some past contestants have turned the desperation of being a whisker away from going home into an inspired final performance, you seemed almost too overcome by the emotion of it all to make it through “Babylon.”

Let’s just say it wasn’t a performance that screamed: Save ME!!!

But the save was going to expire in a couple of weeks, and I guess the Idol judges figured using it was a good way to culminate the best week of performances we’ve seen in Season 13.

In truth, Sam should not have been on the chopping block Thursday night. He performed a decent version of “Lego House” on Wednesday and the song did well on iTunes.

The spot he found himself in should have belonged to C.J. Harris, who still hasn’t conquered his own even more pressing problem — singing on pitch.

But let’s not forget that Sam’s duet with Malaya on Wednesday night was just this side of brutal. As I suggested Wednesday, they would have been better off just standing there smiling and waving at the camera.

And even Idol’s mentor, Randy Jackson, didn’t mention Sam when he was rattling off names of the most impressive contestants from Wednesday night.

Nevertheless, Idol’s cutie is safe for another week.

Which won’t be a problem if C.J. or Malaya or Dexter or Sam wind up in the same situation next week.

But if that fate befalls Jena, Jess, Caleb or Alex — the true stars of Season 13 …

Well, then the judges just wasted the save.

Earlier live blog

In case you hadn’t heard, those original songs Jess Meuse and Alex Preston performed last night did very well on iTunes.

Both cracked the Top 200 on iTunes, something no American Idol contestant did last week.

Malaya Watson performs "Ain't No Way" Wednesday on American Idol. (FOX Photo)

Malaya Watson performs “Ain’t No Way” Wednesday on American Idol. (FOX Photo)

Alex’s “Fairytales” has been hovering in the upper 30s on that chart all day and cracked the Top 20 on the iTunes pop chart.

Jess’ “Blue Eyed Lie” — my personal favorite — climbed as high as 110 on the overall chart and cracked the Top 20 on the iTunes alternative chart.

In fact, all the Idols charted on genre charts at one point today. For a look at where everyone stood, head here. The results are from earlier today, but I just checked at 7:30 p.m. and the placement hasn’t changed much.

The weakest performing song on iTunes?

That would be “Ain’t No Way” by Malaya Watson, which leads me to wonder if she might find herself in jeopardy of going home tonight.

If she is, don’t be surprised if the judges use their one and only save. After all, they only have two more weeks to use it.

My prediction was that C.J. Harris will be the low vote-getter tonight. If that happens, I’d prefer the judges hang onto that save in case someone far more deserving winds up in need of it next week.

And as the show begins, Randy offers this prediction: He thinks Caleb Johnson, Jena Irene, Dexter Roberts and Jessica will definitely be safe tonight.

Well, we’ll find out right away …

Advancing:

* Dexter Roberts — Well, “One Mississippi” was good, but I still think Dexter is one of the weakest of the remaining singers.
* Jena Irene — Must admit, I was a tad worried Idol fans wouldn’t react to that performance of “Rolling in the Deep.” Glad I was wrong.

Now, a musical interlude with Chris Daughtry and his band performing “Waiting for a Superman.” Sure, prefer this to the no-names featured on the results shows earlier this year. Of course, I think every performance spot on these shows should go to a former contestant.

Also advancing:

* Caleb Johnson: Not sure he’ll win, but he’s certainly been the most entertaining and consistent since day one.
* Jess Meuse: That original she sang last night was nothing short of fantastic. The only Idol song I’ve downloaded this year.
* Alex Preston: Which means both of the singers who sang originals last week advanced.

The bottom three

* Malaya Watson: Little surprised to see her there, because I thought she was building momentum
* Sam Woolf: Idol can tell us he’s a hottie over and over, but it apparently isn’t working.
* C.J. Harris: Shaky vocals over an extended period of time should be up with C.J. tonight.

Who’s in danger
* Malaya is safe
* C.J. is safe
* Sam Woolf has to sing for the save.

He’s singing “Babylon.” It’s not a great vocal. It’s not too bad. He looked a little uncomfortable on stage. And the emotion of the moment was clearing getting to him.

And the judges save Sam Woolf.

And confetti immediately rains down on Sam.

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