From the second she stepped foot into the audition room, the American Idol judges knew that Samantha Diaz was someone special.
The now 21-year-old Harlem native introduced herself to the judges as “Just Sam.” She shared her story of being raised by her grandma after being abandoned by her mother and how she started singing on the subway to earn some money.
Just Sam broke down in tears during her audition, prompting Lionel Richie to comfort her with a hug. She later joined the three judges in prayer before they all voted to give her a golden ticket to Hollywood.
Just Sam quickly became a frontrunner in the competition. She made it into the Top 20, becoming one of few contestants who got to compete in the live shows.
Due to the current world situation, the live shows looked a little different for Idol this year. Instead of taking place on its soundstage, the Idol live shows were held remotely. The contestants, judges, and guest performers filmed their contributions from the safety of their own homes.
This at-home format presented a set of challenges, as the contestants were now left to run their own tech and make their performances look and sound amazing. But Just Sam rose to the occasion, and turned in one spectacular performance after another.
Eventually, Just Sam landed in the Idol finale. Then, when the moment came for America to find out who it picked as this season’s winner, Just Sam’s name was announced.
Viewers and the Idol judges reacted to Just Sam’s win on social media. Luke Bryan had especially high praise for the talented young singer, saying, “[There is] No one more deserving of this life changing experience. Congratulations @justsam.co. We love you.”
Just Sam also celebrated her win. In her first social media post after being crowned the newest “Idol,” she thanked all who voted for her throughout her time on the show.
She also made it clear just how much this win means to her:
“This is more than a dream come true and i just want to thank you all so so much for voting for me and loving me and caring about me and just being so kind to me !!” Just Sam wrote. “I love you all and im so happy right now words cant even explain!!! THANK YOU AMERICA!!!“
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I’m EXTREMELY GRATEFUL & HAPPY to be the next #Americanidol ! This is more than a dream come true and i just want to thank you all so so much for voting for me and loving me and caring about me and just being so kind to me !! I love you all and im so happy right now words cant even explain!!! THANK YOU AMERICA!!!
Congratulations to Just Sam! Watch the moment she was named the newest winner of Idol by tuning in to the below video.
With a voice like hers, we have full faith that Just Sam will make a name for herself in the music industry.