Over the weekend Samantha Diaz lived out a dream, winning American Idol under extraordinary circumstances.
The coronavirus crisis forced Sam, who sings under the name 'Just Sam,' and the other contestants to perform remotely.
"I thought immediately that I had fallen asleep somewhere and that I was dreaming that,” said Sam. “I'm like nah, Sam, wake up, like, girl it is not happening wake up.”
The 21-year-old shared the big moment on her iPad through FaceTime with her beloved grandmother, who was back in Harlem.
Sam had moved from their apartment in the Frederick Douglas Houses at Columbus Avenue and 101st Street to Los Angeles during the competition.
But she said her heart was back in New York with her biggest fan.
When Sam was six, her grandmother adopted her and her sister out of foster care when their parents could no longer care for them.
"Getting to see her reaction, that meant everything to me,” Sam said. “It was like; this is why I did it, you know. Just a blessed feeling."
Before "Idol," Sam would perform every day on the subway, in stations or on trains, riding every line trying to earn some money to help out her grandmother and showcase her talent.
"As I was going through this journey, through this process I was and I thought about the trains, I was like wow, Sam, you actually made it past that,” said Sam.
Sam is planning on returning to New York in the next few weeks to celebrate with her grandmother.
She said she is happy her win can give the city something to smile about.
She performed Kelly Clarkson's song "Stronger" as a message to her hometown.
"Yeah we are going through this, it’s okay we are still alright, we are still fighting, we are still together," said Sam.
Her debut single, a cover of Andra Day's "Rise Up," has already made it to top of the charts on iTunes.
Sam said she is already working on her first album.