Who is Samantha Diaz (Just Sam)? 2020 ‘American Idol’ Winner
Season 3 of ABC’s iteration of American Idol ended when Samantha Diaz, a.k.a. Just Sam, was crowned the champion and earned the title of American Idol alongside a record deal.
Just Sam formed a relationship with the three American Idol judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie following her emotional audition. At her audition, she told the judges all about her grandmother, who is very important to her, and shared that she often sang on the subways of New York City to make extra money. She was previously the subject of the documentary titled Sam, Underground.
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Just Sam made American Idol history when she became the first gay winner of the show. She came out following her win.
On March 13, 2021, Just Sam released a new single called “Africando,” which she thanked #TeamJustSam for on Instagram as well as her co-songwriter Cat Clark.
“Thank you to #TeamJustSam for making this possible,” she wrote on Instagram. “Thank you to @catclarkmusic for taking the time to write this with me!!! Thank you to anyone who helped me with this project & thank you @distrokid for all that you guys do for us as artists. MUSIC VIDEO COMING SOON.”
Later, she shared another post thanking Clark for “putting up with my weirdness” and being understanding.
“You not only help me with my music, but you help me with my entire career, you help me with personal crap and even my health!” she wrote.
In December 2020, Just Sam shared that she feels so much more confident since she was on American Idol.
“Ever since the show, my confidence has continued to grow and shock me,” she wrote. “When people compliment me it’s hard for me to accept because sometimes it’s still very hard to believe. I don’t follow trends and do the things that other people my age do and I never really fit in one specific crowd.”
She added, “I’m beautiful on some days, but I could also look very handsome. Sometimes I’m chilling with the ladies and other times I’m hanging with my home boys. I know myself enough now to know that I enjoy changing things up… I love who I am now.”
Fans online wonder whether Just Sam still has her recording contract that she would have been given for winning American Idol. They’ve also come to speculate that the singer was dropped by the label since she hasn’t released any music under the label since her American Idol win.
One Redditor wrote, “It looks like Season 18 winner Just Sam has already been dropped by Hollywood Records. She is no longer on the Hollywood Records artist roster. She is doing a Christmas song with Faith Becnel and it is an indie release.”
Her next song, “Africando,” also seemed to be an indie release.
Some people responded to the post saying that they thought viewers liked her story more than they liked her performances on the show. Just Sam deleted almost every reference to American Idol from her Instagram feed months ago.
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