‘American Idol’ Singer Just Sam’s Audition Is Heartbreaking, But Beautiful
Last season, the three American Idol judges proved kindness and caring could be a brand people will tune in for weekly. Just Sam's audition shows that Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan won't soon be changing up the formula this year.
Just Sam is 20-year-old Samantha Diaz from Harlem, N.Y. She's lived a tough life, but early on viewers learn she keeps a cheerful disposition in spite of it all. Her grandmother adopted her and her sister because her parents couldn't care for them. She lives in the projects and busks on the subway for money to pay for bills and food.
An audition in Washington D.C., found Just Sam bouncing to the stage before Lauren Daigle's "You Say" shut her down. She just couldn't do it the way she felt was possible, and after a start, stop and start again, she broke down crying. From there, the three professionals rally around her to make her feel safe.
“Remember where you came from and sing to where you wanna go," Perry tells her, and while all of the judges have kind words for Just Sam, it's Richie who recognizes why she's scared. He asks if she's ever truly felt safe and tells her that the three of them — Uncle Luke, Uncle Lionel and Aunt Katy — are on her team. This comes after the young woman soars through Andra Day's "Rise Up," as fans begin to rightly guess she'll get her golden ticket to Hollywood.
The 9-minute-long package was released in advance of Sunday's premiere of Season 18 of American Idol on ABC. All three judges return in 2020 with host Ryan Seacrest and Bobby Bones. The Season 17 winner was country-rock singer Laine Hardy.
WATCH: Who Is Laine Hardy?
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