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Former American Idol winner Just Sam says she is broke just two years later

Just Sam performing on American Idol
Just Sam performing on American Idol. Pic credit: ABC

Just Sam won American Idol in 2020, and she picked up a solid fanbase along the way.

When most people win American Idol, fans expect to see them hitting the charts with new hot music and believe success will follow close behind.

However, there are a lot of winners who never reached the success of a Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood, or even a David Cook.

Just Sam was one of those who didn’t see success and now she says she is broke.

American Idol’s Just Sam broke 2 years after winning

Samantha Diaz, who went by the name Just Sam, won Season 18 of American Idol.

This was the season where all the live performances were done from a hotel room because of COVID-19.

Before coming on American Idol, Just Sam was a subway performer in New York City. She hoped that winning the competition, or at least getting her name out there, would help change her life.

Sadly, that isn’t what happened.

Just Sam said she thought she could start making music after American Idol, and that isn’t how things turned out.

“I thought it was gonna be easy, just go to the studio, record, put out music,” Sam said (via Just Jared). “And that’s not how the world works. That’s not how the industry works. It takes time, it takes money that I don’t have. It takes patience.”

She went on to say that Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Ritchie weren’t going to pay her bills.

“I have to pay my rent. I have to make sure that I’m eating every day, which is hard to do.”

Just Sam lost record deal from American Idol

Just Sam came into American Idol with almost nothing, working as a subway performer. That meant that she didn’t have the money she needed to pay her bills while waiting on the record label.

She signed with Hollywood Records after her American Idol win but never made an album with them.

Hollywood Records pulled her song Rise Up off of iTunes, which hurt her financially.

“I don’t know the logistics behind it. I don’t know the legal side of things,” Just Sam said. “But I believe that when we parted ways, in order for them to keep 100% of the money that was made from Rise Up, I think they had to pull it from streams so that I wouldn’t get a cut, which is smart. Smart move Hollywood.”

Just Sam then said that she wants to make music, but that costs money and that means it is slow coming.

“I’m not even going to tell you guys the amount of money that I had to pay after leaving the label to claim songs that I had already recorded,” Sam said. “I’m recording all the time or making music all the time, writing every day, doing what I have to do to survive.”

American Idol Season 20 premieres on Sunday, February 27, 2022, at 8/7c on ABC.

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