‘American Idol’ Ratings Surged With Just Sam’s Return

Just Sam Returned to American Idol on Sunday, April 28. (Disney/Eric McCandless)

American Idol scored its best ratings in a year on the Sunday, April 28 installment.

The live coast-to-coast episode brought in 5.31 million total viewers and earned a .64 rating in the advertiser coveted Adults 18-49 demo, per Nielsen figures released Thursday in the live +same day ratings category.

Those numbers marked the ABC music competition’s strongest showing since last season’s finale on May 21, 2023. The ratings also made Idol the No. 1 entertainment program on April 28 in the key Adult demo.

Related Story: ‘American Idol’ 2020 Winner Just Sam Makes Emotional Return

Sunday’s episode featured country music superstar Shania Twain as guest mentor, along with the return of 2020 American Idol winner Just Sam.

Up-and-coming singer Just Sam, who uses they/them pronouns, got their start performing in the subway in New York City.

Shortly after winning Idol, the artist revealed on social media that they were struggling financially and had returned to singing in the subway system for donations.

In an Instagram post on May 1, 2023, Just Sam shared video of one of their subway performances. The since-deleted caption read: “Back in 2021, I was super embarrassed to be going back to the trains. I didn’t want people to know that I legit needed the money & I didn’t want people to know that it wasn’t optional.”

The Harlem native, born Samantha Diaz, won the season 18 competition during COVID-19 lockdowns.

They performed remotely during the season and had never been on the Idol stage in front of the judges.

On Sunday night, Just Sam belted out Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time.” The song ended with confetti raining down from the ceiling and host Ryan Seacrest jokingly announcing, “The winner of American Idol 2020 is Just Sam!”

“This is way better than an iPhone from home,” Diaz responded.

Judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan praised the performance.

“I’m sitting here like a proud papa bear,” Richie said. “I’m so proud of you. I know the challenges that you’ve been through and you have charmed us all.”

Just Sam’s fans and followers have repeatedly criticized American Idol on social media for not doing more to help the singer.

Hopefully, their career will get a big boost after taking the Idol stage on Sunday night.

One thought on “‘American Idol’ Ratings Surged With Just Sam’s Return

  1. Only a shinning star like Sam can invoke and lure viewers! high ratings is clearly because of her being on the show.

Leave a Reply