Samantha Diaz, known by her stage name Just Sam, was crowned “American Idol” season 18 winner Sunday night after singing the Christian single “You Say” in a duet with Lauren Daigle.
Just Sam, who showcased her faith throughout the competition, declared on the final episode, “Thank you Jesus!”
Before the duet, the contestant told Daigle about the impact the hit crossover song had on her. “‘You Say’ seriously speaks to my heart and I feel like that’s what brought me to tears at my audition,” she said.
She initially tried to audition with Daigle’s song but was consumed with emotion so she had to sing another song.
After winning the competition, Just Sam’s grandmother was seen via Facetime praising God and celebrating her granddaughter’s win.
Earlier in the final episode, celebrity judges Katy Perry and Luke Bryan gave Just Sam some spiritual motivation.
“The Lord doesn’t give you more than you can handle,” Perry told the singer after her performance of Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger.”
ABC first aired Just Sam’s testimony at the beginning of the singing competition in February. In her promotional package, the 20-year-old aspiring singer from Harlem revealed she was adopted by her grandmother after being abandoned by her parents.
Diaz shared that her sole source of income was singing in the subways, which actually provides enough money to support her family’s basic needs.
In response to all of the support she was receiving from the judges, Diaz felt compelled to boldly ask if she could pray with the celebrities.
“Can I pray with you guys. Is that OK?” she inquired. “I have a prayer I want to do with you guys.”
“So repeat after me,” she told the judges as they all held hands in agreement. “Heavenly Father, Lord make my life brand new right here, right now, with my friends and my new fam.”
Once the prayer was over, Bryan jokingly asked to go get “baptized.”
“We’ve been saved again!” Perry shouted.
Diaz responded, “Thank you, Jesus!”