A new winner of “American Idol” has been announced. Iam Tongi was crowned the winner of Season 21 of “Idol” on Sunday night at the three-hour finale. The second-place winner was Georgian vocalist Megan Danielle, age 20.
Look at the below American Idol tweet that the 𝗪𝗜𝗡𝗡𝗘𝗥 of IDOL is… wtongi!
— American Idol (@AmericanIdol) May 22, 2023
Here’s a look back at Tongi’s run on the show.
Iam Tongi ‘American Idol’ Audition
Iam Tongi’s “American Idol” audition had by far the most viewers of the season. It was published three months ago and has 18 million YouTube views. Hawaii native Tongi, 18, a senior in high school, played “Monsters” by James Blunt for his audition and gave a dedication to his father, who passed away a few months before to the audition.
Tongi gushed to the “Idol” judges that his father inspired him to pursue singing. He brought his feelings into his performance, and with his interpretation of the song, judges Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie started to cry.
I’m not your son, you’re not my father
We’re just two grown men saying goodbye
No need to forgive, no need to forget
I know your mistakes and you know mine
And while you’re sleeping, I’ll try to make you proud
So, daddy, won’t you just close your eyes?
Don’t be afraid, it’s my turn to chase the monsters away
As he sang his final note, Tongi broke down in tears, but he had already persuaded the judges that he would be a severe contender in the “Idol” competition. His performance of “Monsters” helped the song reach the top of the iTunes rankings.
“You hit a nerve, and that’s what great storytellers do,” Katy Perry said. “That’s what great artists do, and your voice is just so magnificent.”
“I cannot handle your heart breaking about your dad,” Bryan added. “Just seeing you missing your dad just sucks. Gosh, man, you just got a great voice. … You just did everything perfect, and I love you.” “You take this into the world, and you’re going to fracture some souls,” Richie said.
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Iam Tongi Opens Up About His Father
Tongi spoke with producers after his “Idol” audition about how he and his father connected via music and how his father had long encouraged him to apply for “American Idol.” In truth, Tongi had already performed for “Idol.” Tongi chuckled as he recounted his father’s response to not making it on the show in an interview with The Kent Reporter.
“He was like, ‘Son. I need to talk to you. You need to work on your music,’” he said.“My dad, he wasn’t a perfect dude,” he added. “He wasn’t like a saint, or whatever. But he was the best father that I know. And I want everyone to know that he’s a tough guy. He always told me the truth, (and) he always loved me. And I always loved him too.”
Because he didn’t want to make his “Idol” audition into a sob tale, Tongi told The Kent Reporter that he hadn’t originally intended on bringing up his father during the audition. He couldn’t help but cry as he remembered his father when the judges asked about his family.
“People thought I cry because I miss him, but it’s ’cause I hear him singing — I can hear his harmony,” Tongi told “Idol” producers after the audition. “I know he’s with me. Through my music he’ll always be with me.”
During his time on “Idol,” Tongi, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,has shared his faith on social media. In April, he cited the quote “the best is yet to come” from President Russell M. Nelson’s talk at a general conference. A few weeks later, he shared a video with a few other “Idol” contestants in a hotel room, singing the Latter-day Saint hymn “I Need Thee Every Hour.”
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