Samantha Diaz, known professionally as Just Sam (born November 23, 1998) was a contestant on Season 18 of American Idol.

Audition[edit | edit source]

Sam auditioned in Washington D.C. She started to sing "You Say" by Lauren Daigle but stopped almost immediately because of her nerves. Afterwards, she sang "Rise Up" by Andra Day. All three judges voted "yes", sending her to the next round.

Hollywood Round[edit | edit source]

Sam was shown in the "R&B" category for the "Genre Challenge", alongside Cyniah Elise, Makayla Phillips, and Jordan Jones. She sang "Hearts Ain't Gonna Lie" by Arlissa. Afterwards, the judges told her she advanced. She was later shown in a duet with Sheniel Maisonet called "Short Fuze" singing "Mercy" by Shawn Mendes. Both members of the duet advanced. For her final Solo performance, she sang "I'm Here" by Cynthia Erivo. She was later placed in the same deliberation room as Shannon Gibbons, Jeb Vonderbruegge, Jovin Webb, Nick Merico, Robert Taylor, Geena, Bilaal Avaz, Dillon James, Aliana Jester, Demi Rae, and Louis Knight, where the judges revealed that everyone had advanced.

Hawaii Round[edit | edit source]

Sam sang "Como La Flor" by Selena entirely in Spanish. Afterwards, during the Final Judgment, the judges told her that she did enough to become a Top 20 semifinalist.

This Is Me[edit | edit source]

Top 20[edit | edit source]

She sang "I Believe" by Fantasia. She received enough votes to become a Top 11 finalist.

Top 11[edit | edit source]

Sam sang "Grandma's Hands" by Bill Withers. She received enough votes to become a Top 7 finalist.

Top 7[edit | edit source]

Sam sang "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes" by Ilene Woods from Cinderella and "I Turn to You" by Christina Aguilera.

Season 18 Finale[edit | edit source]

Sam sang "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" by Kelly Clarkson and "Rise Up" by Andra Day. Sam received more votes than Arthur Gunn, making her the American Idol.

Performances[edit | edit source]

Round Song Choice Original Artist Theme (if any) Result
Auditions "You Say"

"Rise Up"

Lauren Daigle
Andra Day
None Safe
Hollywood Week "Hearts Ain't Gonna Lie" Arlissa Hollywood Round 1 Safe
Hollywood Week "Mercy" Shawn Mendes Hollywood Round 2 Safe
Hollywood Week "I'm Here" Cynthia Erivo Hollywood Round 3 Safe
Hawaii Round "Como La Flor" Selena Showcase Round Advanced
Top 20 "I Believe" Fantasia Homeward Bound Advanced
Top 11 "Grandma's Hands" Bill Withers Homeward Bound Advanced
Top 7 "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes"

"I Turn to You"

Ilene Woods

Christina Aguilera

Disney Night

Mother's Day

Advanced
Top 5 "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)"
"Rise Up"
Kelly Clarkson
Andra Day
Grand Finale Won

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The graphic during her audition incorrectly stated her age was 20, when it was really 21.
  • Sam sang on the subways of New York prior to auditioning for American Idol.
  • Sam is the first American Idol winner to use a stage name.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Click here for an image gallery of this contestant.


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.