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.
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.
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
Sam sang "Grandma's Hands" by Bill Withers. She received enough votes to become a Top 7 finalist.
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
|Round||Song Choice||Original Artist||Theme (if any)||Result|
|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"
|Top 5||"Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)"
- 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.
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