Americaп Idol wiппer Just Sam returпs to the stage after siпgiпg iп NYC subways to make eпds meet

American Idol winner Just Sam returns to the stage after singing in NYC subways to make ends meet

“This is way better than an iPhone from home,” Just Sam told host Ryan Seacrest.

Former American Idol winner Samantha “Just Sam” Diaz is once again seizing their moment.

During Sunday night’s show, the singer, who took home the top prize back in Season 18 ,made a special appearance to perform Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time.” Since Just Sam won amid the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 — forcing them to film several performances from home — their presence on stage held extra weight for fans of the show.

To mark the occasion, the song culminated with flashing lights and confetti falling from the sky as the judging panel and live audience applauded.

“Not bad with the stage and the cameras, and the lights and everything,” host Ryan Seacrest joked.

Just Sam replied: “This is way better than an iPhone from home.”

(Shania Twain Mentors the Top 10 on Songs From Their Year of Birth)" - Country music icon Shania Twain mentors the Top 10 who perform songs from their birth years, all vying for a spot in the Top 8 as America votes live. 2011 winner and bestselling superstar Scotty McCreery performs. 2020 winner Just Sam also performs. SUNDAY, APRIL 28

Just Sam.

As for the judging panel, they only had positive things to say about the performance.

“I ain’t got notes,” Katy Perry said when prompted by Seacrest. “What I will say is, you 100 percent deserve that confetti. It was long overdue. And it looked so great on you. I am so proud of who you’ve become.”

Luke Bryan chimed in, “I am so glad you had your moment. It’s so nice to sit here and just hear your voice again in this room.”

Lionel Ritchie got emotional, adding, “I am sitting here like a proud papa bird. I am so proud. And I know the challenges that you’ve been through but you’ve charmed us all, and the fact that you’ve come back all grown up and solid as a rock. I can only say, God has his hands firmly on you.”

Just Sam also took a moment to acknowledge the season 23 contestants and offer some key advice about appreciating their own time on Idol.

“This, take it in. This is the moment, okay?” they said. “Just like the song says.”

The singer’s return to Idol is also notable because Just Sam made headlines in 2023 for opening up about life after the show. A year after beating season 18 runner-up Arthur Gunn, Just Sam began sharing videos on Instagram singing in New York City subway stations, busking for money.

In a now deleted Instagram post from 2021, they wrote, “I was disappointed in myself for allowing myself to fall so low after winning Idol, but then I had to take it easy on me and remember that I started my journey with Idol at 20 years old. Not even knowing anything about Hollywood or the music industry.”

They added, “Since then, I have learned so much and I’ve been able to take my experiences and share them with other artists in hopes that they don’t experience the same things that I did when it comes to making it in this life.”

Just Sam left Idol label, Hollywood Records, after signing with them in the wake of their victory. The singer previously admitted that part of their motivation for busking came from the hefty sums they owed the label for their songs.

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