Joy Break: American Idol Contestant Prays With Judges After Her Audition

By Nancy Flory Published on February 22, 2020

When we turn on our televisions or smart phones we are bombarded with news that brings us down. Where are all the good stories? They’re still there. Here’s one that we hope will bless you.

An American Idol contestant took three tries to get through her audition without crying. Twenty-year-old Samantha Diaz, or “Just Sam,” got some encouraging words from judges Lionel Ritchie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan before she belted out Andra Day’s Rise Up. Then she asked the judges to pray with her.

Thank You, Jesus!

Just Sam’s grandmother raised her in Harlem, New York. “My grandmother had to adopt my sister and I. My mother wasn’t there for me, growing up and neither was my father. My grandmother — she made sure we were fed, she made sure we had a roof over our heads, she made sure we had clothes on our backs.” She began singing on the subway as a kid. In the nine-minute video, Just Sam’s grandmother told her “just believe in yourself and believe in God.”

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After her performance, Ritchie asked if she’d ever felt safe. She said that she felt safe when her grandmother hugged her. But she still struggled trusting others because she wasn’t used to people caring without wanting something from her.

“We’ve got you and I want you to rely on us to coach you through this,” Ritchie told her. “I’m so grateful that God put you in front of us.”

Tearfully, Just Sam asked the judges to pray with her. They held hands. “Heavenly Father, Lord, make my life brand new right here, right now, with my friends and my new fam. Amen.” She raised her hands and said, “Thank you, Jesus!”



Nancy Flory is an associate editor at The Stream. You can follow her @NancyFlory3, and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.

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