‘American Idol’ crowns first Pacific Islander and Hawaii native
Iam Tongi, 18, went viral after his first audition with an emotional performance dedicated to his late father.
An 18-year-old from Oahu, Hawaii made history Sunday after becoming the first Pacific Islander singer to win “American Idol.”
Fan-favorite Iam Tongi won the show’s 21st season after an emotional performance of his original song, “I’ll Be Seeing You,” dedicated to his late father. Country singer Megan Danielle, from Georgia, placed second, and Colin Stough, from Mississippi, came in third.
“My dad would probably be crying right now. My dad, he’s a tough man, but when my brother won state champion for wrestling, he was crying. So I can just imagine him right now,” Tongi told “Access Hollywood” after the finale.
Tongi gripped viewers from his first audition with a rendition of “Monsters” by James Blunt that instantly went viral, garnering over 22 million combined views on YouTube and TikTok. Blunt joined Tongi at the finale for a duet that left judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan visibly emotional.
“I’ll Be Seeing You” and “Monsters” occupied the top two spots on the iTunes Charts the morning after the finale.