Okay, THAT is the way to end an “American Idol” season.
The winner was the singer called Just Sam. And celebrating on camera was … well, just Sam.
It was a reminder that good things can happen in isolation. And that pure talent can prevail … when accompanied by some luck.
Just Sam (the stage name chosen by Samantha Diaz, 20) is clearly talented. In the final five, ’d say that only Jonny West – a gifted singer-songwriter-keyboardist – tops her in that.
But she also brought three key advantages:
– The numbers. She was the only woman in the final five; the cute-guy vote was split four ways.
– Her personality – alternately shy, giggly, warm and positive.
– And her back story.
Raised in Harlem by a grandmother she talks of glowingly, she made money by singing in the subway. When “Idol” switched to social-distancing, everyone else went home; Just Sam said she didn’t want to endanger that elderly grandma; instead, she stayed in Los Angeles, in a spartan apartment.
That’s where she was, as the final came down to Arthur Gunn – also a stage name, for Nepalese native Dibesh Pokharel, 22 – and Just Sam.
There had been no one to help Just Sam get ready. When she won, there was no one to throw confetti on her.
Then “Idol” had its quickly edited finish. “We Are the World” was sung by Lionel Richie (who wrote it with Michael Jackson) and others.
With some quick editing, Just Sam was (except for Richie) the most prominent person in the video. In total isolation, she was part of a grand chorus of “Idol” stars.