"This is life-changing. This is a dream come true, all the good things," Just Sam told E! News' Lilliana Vasquez after winning American Idol.
Just Sam got the news of her win in the long-running reality show's first-ever remote finale. Production was halted and plans adjusted after the coronavirus spread causing mass production shutdowns. Reality shows, like American Idol and The Voice, pivoted to at-home self-taping to conclude the seasons.
In the Sunday, May 17 finale, it was down to Just Sam and Arthur Gunn after Dillon James, Francisco Martin and Jonny West were eliminated earlier in the night. Just Sam said the win was "super unexpected."
"I don't even know how to wrap my mind around all of this," Just Sam told us.
The hardest part of competing from home was watching the other contestants be embraced by family members, Just Sam said. "I was like dang, that must be nice," she said after watching her fellow contestants interact with family in person.
"That was tough," she said. "I know I'm not the only person who is alone during this time, but doing the competition by myself, that was tough. It was."
Traditionally, American Idol ends with big fanfare on stage and screaming audiences watching the big moment. That didn't happen for this season, which is the show's 18th overall and third on ABC. However, Just Sam said she was just "so grateful" for the moment and the win. "I feel like everything happens for a reason," she said.
"We're making history. We literally have just made history," she said about the at-home win.
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American Idol will return for a fourth season on ABC.