'Just Sam' Wins 'American Idol' After Singing Duet With Lauren Daigle
After singing a moving duet with Grammy Award-winning Christian artist Lauren Daigle, Samantha Diaz was crowned the American Idol winner for season 18.
Daigle and Diaz virtually performed "You Say" together on Sunday, which the contestant admits had a powerful influence on her in recent years.
"'You Say' seriously speaks to my heart, and I feel like that's what brought me to tears at my audition," Diaz said.
During her February audition, she was overcome with emotion and unable to perform until judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan offered some encouraging words—which allowed her to belt out Andra Day's "Rise Up."
During a candid testimony, the 21-year-old singer opened up about her past and being abandoned by her parents.
Diaz, who goes by "Just Sam," was raised by her grandmother in Harlem, New York, and started singing in subways when she was a kid.
"My grandmother had to adopt my sister and [me]. My mother wasn't there for me, growing up ... neither was my father. My grandmother made sure we were fed, had a roof over our heads and had clothes on our backs," Diaz explained.