Former ‘American Idol’ Winner Just Sam Back to Busking on the Subway
American Idol winner Just Sam is back where she started, and she's not too happy about it. The Season 18 winner is reportedly "super embarrassed" to be back singing in New York City subways.
- Just Sam (Samantha Diaz) won the COVID-19 season of American Idol in 2020.
- The Sun reported that in a May 1 Instagram post, she confessed to being super embarrassed by needing money badly enough that she had to return to subways.
- Last summer, Just Sam was hospitalized for several days with an unknown ailment and at the time said she weighed 100 pounds.
Even though her comments about her situation were reportedly deleted, Just Sam has not shied from showing what she's been up to. Her Instagram page shows several videos of her singing in subways from 2023. She also admitted to returning to her roots as early as 2021.
Just Sam also let fans know there's more to the story: After several outlets started to pick up what she's been doing, the 24-year-old took to Instagram Story with a pair of messages.
"There's so much that I want to say, but there's not much that I am allowed to say," she begins. "For now I will just say thank you so much to everyone who has my back."
Several hours later, she added, "I woke up to so much love I can't do anything but cry like a babyyy & say thank you to everyoneeeee (sic)."
After topping Arthur Gunn to win Season 18 of American Idol, Just Sam signed with Hollywood Records, but the relationship bore no new music. She'd later say she went broke buying her way out of the record deal.
"Not broke, broke – like I'm living. I have my own place," she clarified.
Related: 7 American Idol Favorites Who Seemingly Vanished
Diaz's hospitalization came after some alarming tweets about her mental health, although she did indicate she was winning that battle (per MJs Big Blog).
Just Sam's story was the ultimate underdog story. She was adopted by her grandmother after her mother could not care for her, so she and her sister grew up without a mom or dad. Singing for tips on subways or subway platforms was how she began to become famous before Idol, but the show really propelled her career.
After winning, she says she began to realize it took a lot more time, patience and money to release new music than she knew.