20-Year-Old ‘Just Sam’ From Douglass Houses is an American Idol Star

Samantha Diaz, a 20-year-old from the Frederick Douglass Houses, is making big waves on the show American Idol, winning praise from the judges and fans.

She made it to the top 40 after Hollywood Week this week, and has been winning local fans — including lots of people in the Douglass Houses and even Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (who has been updating people about Sam along with her Covid-19 updates every day).

The Douglass Houses is a NYCHA-owned complex with 18 buildings between West 100th and 104th Streets.

Diaz goes by “Just Sam” and she got her start singing on the subways. Check out two clips below and root for her!

ART, NEWS | 22 comments | permalink
    1. C says:

      Actually some wonderful heartwarming stories of survival this year. American Idol is not something we typically watch but right now it is a feel good show. Just Sam is inspirational and a fabulous performer/singer.

    2. MLK says:

      She has an amazing story and is a real fighter. Her voice is beautiful and she deserves to go all the way. The judges love her and all she stands for which is the American dream.

    3. Johanna Reissman says:

      Just Sam is so talented, and a really exciting performer! I am such a fan, I am rooting for her, and she deserves all the success she gets. Good luck Sam!

    4. Alphie Martinez says:

      We’re all with you Just Sam. Much success will be yours. I can see it now. Stay true to who you are. Be well. Love&Light ❤️

    5. tailfins says:

      Thanks for posting. I’m not an Idol watcher, so this was the first I’ve heard of Just Sam. I’m sorry to have not heard her on any of my subway rides.

      It’s worth watching the second clip. It broke my heart when Lionel Richie asked if she’d ever felt safe. This is someone from our neighborhood. And she’s being asked that question. Something is broken.

    6. SBG says:

      Thank you Tailfins for telling us to watch the second clip. I wouldn’t have, & now I feel so emotional. Yes, so much, so much is broken…

    7. JoeRap says:

      Now I have a reason to watch American Idol. Go Sam !!!

    8. ST says:

      Now I will watch. Support the hometown kid.

    9. Geneva Vera says:

      Hi Just Sam, it’s Ms Geneva one of your
      former High school teachers. Although you
      Were in our school a short time, when I saw
      You on the show, I remembered the young
      who taught me how to fish braid. I hope and
      Pray that you enjoy this amazing opportunity.
      I believe in you. Regards Ms Geneva Vera
      Retired teacher

    10. Robin Rice says:

      Just Sam has been our #1 favorite by far. She would be even if we weren’t New Yorkers. Hang in there, girl. You are amazing!

    11. Eloise Sam says:

      Just Sam is an inspiration. I wish her God’s richest blessings and good success in her singing career.

    12. Kathleen says:

      I watched the show and it brought tears to my eyes. She has an amazing voice and I love that Idol is giving her the opportunity of a lifetime that she so deserves. You go, Samantha!!

    13. JSM says:

      I am rooting for Sam and hoping she makes it to the final 10. She will have my vote! I had tears in my eyes when she made the group going to Hawaii and called her grandmother telling her their difficult times were over.

    14. Rhettwest says:

      Just Sam
      May the lord bless you n give you the Strength to continue your journey …YOU will go to the top. Much Love Ms. Hidalgo&Company( you know who)😎

    15. Thierno says:

      Same you sing very well even when your didn’t feel good you still went and sang.

    16. JEFF ALGER says:

      I just love her, She is just a wonderful singer, she just has an amazing personality,and just a beautiful Christian lady. She is Just Sam.

    17. Dee says:

      Wait…. they just accepted Christ as Lord & savior!!
      Just Sam!!! Great voice 👌❤️God Bless you❤️❤️❤️

    18. Geneva Vera says:

      You should call yourself amazing Sam
      because you were amazing tonight.

    19. Inge says:

      She is so enduring and her voice is filled with heart and soul.
      I am such a fan!!!

    20. Mart says:

      Just Sam, you are an amazing young woman. Blessed by your Ancestors!! Thank God for your Grandmother who has been put here to guide you on this journey!!!

      As your elder, I am so very proud of you!!! Win or lose, you are AI!!!! More than that you are WI…World Idol!!!!! Continue with that Blessed gift you have and NOTHING can stop you!!!!!!!!!
      Your Elder from Brooklyn NY

    21. Dora says:

      Just Sam. I just saw you perform on American Idol and sing Murió La Flor by Selena. OMG!!! I am of Mexican descent and you totally did the most fabulous job singing that song. You had me in tears. I like the reggae touch you added and your Spanish singing is fabulous!! You are famous to me already!! GO GIRL!!! Love you, from Las Vegas

    22. Michael and Carol Yates says:

      Just Sam without a doubt is our favorite on the show. She is an astute performer and amazed my wife and I with her ability to connect with a song in Spanish even though she does not speak the language.
      It doesn’t matter what happens on the show she is welcome to come to Detroit and perform. We will be there for her. We send her our love and hope she stays safe.