American Idol 2020: Just Sam “Grandma’s Hands” (Top 11)

American Idol 2020: Just Sam "Grandma's Hands" (Top 11) | Bill Withers.

May 4, 2020 by Marsha Dizon

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Just Sam (age 21) from Harlem, New York sang “Grandma’s Hands” by Bill Withers during the the Top 10 Homeward Bound round on American Idol 2020 (Season 18). Note that the Top 10 was modified to a Top Eleven as the judges used their save and added contestant Makayla Phillips.

American Idol judges Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan, and Katy Perry were wowed by Just Sam’s emotional performance dedicated to her grandmother.

Luke Bryan said that Just Sam could still hit the big notes. He said the richness and how Just Sam’s voice holds up at all levels of her range is what makes her great to listen to. Lionel Richie noted how Just Sam is now smiling, “beaming and shining through”. Katy Perry said Just Sam’s performance reminded her of being in church and being lost into the rhythm. She said it was easy for Just Sam and she liked it.

Contestant number: 19
How to vote for Just Sam: Text 19 to 21523
Voting: Vote at and the American Idol app. Voting closes at 9am ET on May 4, 2020. Limit 10 votes per contestant per method. Message and data rates may apply for app download and usage.

Grandma’s Hands” is a song written by Bill Withers about his grandmother. It was included on his debut album Just as I Am (1971). It was released as a single and peaked at number 18 on the Best Selling Soul Singles chart and 42 on the Billboard Hot 100.

American Idol Season 18 premiered at 8PM, February 16, 2020 on ABC television and airs Sundays at 8/7c. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, filming of American Idol was temporarily suspended and contestants were sent home. Production resumed in late April, with all of the contestants performing from their homes.

Ryan Seacrest continues his role as the show’s host and Bobby Bones returns as the in-house mentor. Despite budget cuts, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie come back as judges for their third season of the series.

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