Although they won $250,000 and a recording contract from Hollywood Records, non-binary American Idol winner Samantha “Just Sam” Diaz is back to begging for money in the subway. Diaz won the 2020 season of American Idol and got everything they could have dreamed of, but it was not enough to stop them from begging for money from strangers while playing music in the subway.

Diaz confessed that they were “super embarrassed” that they had to return to busking for spare change from commuters in the subway system of New York City but that they wanted people to know in case fans would give some cash to the cause. Although the Harlem native won the hit singing competition on ABC, they failed to turn their victory into career success. Now Diaz is back to begging for spare change on the subway of New York City just to make ends meet.

The celebrated singer identifies as non-binary and uses the “they/them” pronouns to describe themself. Because they “legit needed the money,” the singer had no choice but to return to begging for change on the subway system. A decision that was not “optional” but mandatory for them to survive another day in the expensive city in New York State.

Now that Just Sam has “fallen so low” after reaching the highest heights of reality television stardom, they are struggling to come to terms with their turn of fate. Among the singer’s challenges was a stint in the hospital last summer to deal with an unknown illness that put them down and out for too long.

On Tuesday, the singer shared an Instagram Story that revealed how “there’s so much” more they want to say to their fans and followers, “but there’s not much that” they are “allowed to say” in public. This statement made it seem like the American Idol winner had a bad time with the show and has been forced to remain silent about the ordeal they went through to be crowned the victor of the reality singing competition series back in 2020.

The singer added, “I promise that I will say more soon, very soon. For now, I will just say thank you so much to everyone who has my back.” The singer finished their message by expressing gratitude to “the people who are showing me nothing but love.”

Last year, Diaz abruptly abandoned Hollywood Records, leaving behind their lucrative record contract without ever releasing any music with the music label.

“I am making music. I just cannot afford to release music because mixing and mastering music costs a lot of money. And I invested in myself and ended up broke. That’s the truth,” they said on their Instagram Story last year.

The musician continued: “It’s just hard because I’m coming out of pocket, and I have bills to pay. And American Idol is not going to pay my bills. Lionel Richie’s not going to pay my bills. Katy Perry’s not going to pay my bills. Luke Bryan is not going to pay my bills. I have to pay my rent. I have to make sure that I’m eating every day, which is hard to do.”