american idol just sam winner
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American Idol: Samantha Diaz Makes History, Crowned New Winner

Not that long ago, Samantha Diaz was performing on New York City subways. As a subway performer, she earned her tips with each song she’d sing. Today, Just Sam, her stage name, is now the winner of “American Idol.”

Last night, the 21-year-old singer was named winner of “American Idol” and did so by making history. The young performer made history as the first singer to win the singing competition under quarantine. 

“I’m EXTREMELY GRATEFUL & HAPPY to be the next #Americanidol!” Just Sam wrote on Instagram. “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 I’m so happy right now words can’t even explain!!! THANK YOU AMERICA!!!”

While contestants performed most of the show in front of audiences and the judges, it wasn’t until mid-April that performers began showcasing their songs and performances from home. What made Just Sam’s story even more extraordinary, and sometimes heartbreaking, was that she didn’t return home like the rest of the contestants. She remained in Los Angeles and quarantined alone so she wouldn’t pose any danger to her grandmother back in New York City. 

“I get to stay in California so that my grandmother could be OK and so I don’t risk getting her sick,” Just Sam said on the show. “I don’t have much, just my two suitcases that I had packed about two months ago.”

While we don’t know much about her family, Just Sam said she wasn’t close to her mother and was raised by her grandmother, whom she praised endlessly. 

“I love my grandmother so much she’s the greatest Mother, grandmother and great grandmother, ever!!!” Just Sam wrote on Mother’s Day. “I can’t physically be there with her, but that’s okay because pretty soon this will all be over and I’ll be spending the holidays with her again. If you’re missing someone today, (mother, grandmother, mother figure etc.) My heart goes out to you and your family. If you’re alone today, it’s okay because WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!! Hold on a little longer because we will ALL BE OKAY!”

Just Sam is so deserving of her new “American Idol” role. She is proof that anything is possible with real, natural-born talent as long as you don’t give up. 

One of our favorite moments of Just Sam on “American Idol” is when she sang a cover of Selena’s “Como La Flor” in Hawaii despite not knowing how to speak Spanish. 

Congrats, Sam!

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