The very talented young singer, Iam Tongi just celebrated his amazing win of season 21 of American Idol by singing from the bottom of his heart. Not only is his victory great news for those who have followed his highly emotional journey, but it also marks the first win by a Pacific Islander to win the coveted title.
With his rousing audition, Tongi captured the hearts of the audience for the first time. A native Hawaiian of Tongan, Samoan, and Irish ancestry, he introduced himself to the judges as "kicked out of paradise" and told them he lived in Seattle with his mother. When asked about his father, the 18-year-old singer shed a tear, explaining that he had recently passed away and that it was he who got him into music. He then sang a touching version of James Blunt's "Monsters," a farewell song for his terminally ill father, which he dedicated to his own father.
“I wasn't concerned with whether you could handle the song, but whether we could handle it. "Your father is very proud," judge Lionel Richie said at the time. Katy Perry then added: "What a fantastic song. You make these grown men cry. Subsequently, he received a place in the competition.
Fast forwarding to the season final, Tongi performed the song that earned him a spot on American Idol, this time as a duet with Blunt himself. A visibly battered Tongi fought back tears, but collapsed several times and had to stop, to dry his eyes or catch his breath after his voice failed. Meanwhile, Blunt continued to sing, even supporting Tonga's arm as he did so. They gathered, completed a powerful performance side by side, and embraced as the song drew to a close.
Tongi also performed the Hawaiian reggae song "Cool Down" by Kolohe Kaya, as well as his own original song dedicated to his beloved father, "I'll Be Seeing You". Throughout the performance, the Hawaiian singer brought the judges and audience to tears with his soulful performance and sweet voice. From Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence" to "What a Wonderful World," first recorded by Louis Armstrong, Tongi is known for feeling the lyrics of every song and delivering them to audiences in a raw, warm way and way of rendering close to storytelling.
Before the final, Perry praised Tongi in an interview with People. "The noise in the room when I turn on Iam is undeniable," she said. “He's an undeniable character. He just has incredible magic. It's almost impossible to explain. That's a factor. It's like you were born to do it, and there's no denying that."