Here's Everything You Want to Know About 'American Idol' Winner Iam Tongi
And the 2023 American Idol winner is… Iam Tongi!
After a three-hour-long season finale on May 21, host Ryan Seacrest declared Iam Tongi as the winner of the series, defeating both Megan Danielle and Colin Stough. Primary to crowning the latest champion, Danielle, Stough, and Tongi all performed on the stage one last time. The other contestants who made the top 12 — Haven Madison, Lucy Love, Marybeth Byrd, Nutsa, Oliver Steele, Tyson Venegas, Warren Peay, Wé Ani, and Zachariah Smith — were also back on the singing reality show with impressive performances alongside a few of the most prominent names in the music industry.
The judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan each performed some of their best numbers. Other star entertainers contained former Idol rivals Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard, Ellie Goulding, James Blunt, Jazmine Sullivan, Jelly Roll, Keith Urban, Kevin Cronin, Kylie Minogue, Lainey Wilson, Lauren Daigle, Pitbull and Lil Jon, reports TV Line. But it was Tongi who stole the show by winning the crown, and now fans want to know more about this incredible singer.
According to The U.S. Sun, William Tongi, who goes by the name Iam, is an 18-year-old from Kahuku, Hawaii. Born on September 1, 2004, to Rodney Guy and Lillie N. Rodney Tongi, Iam Tongi grew up surrounded by an affectionate family of six, including his father, mother, two brothers and two sisters. His father Rodney Guy Tongi, who was also a musician, acknowledged his son's talent and fueled his desire for art. Iam Tongi's devotion to singing and his fondness for harmony started when he began taking ukulele lessons in the fifth grade. He subsequently acquired his talents on the guitar, and his desire for music persisted to evolve.
Even before Iam Tongi was crowned winner, he has always been the fan favorite. Tongi’s American Idol audition was the most viewed of the season. It was posted on YouTube three months ago, and as of now, it has 16 million views. For his audition, 18-year-old Tongi performed Monsters by James Blunt as a tribute to his father, Rodney, who was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney disease and passed away a few months prior to Tongi's American Idol audition, as per Deseret News.
The judges were left stunned after his emotional and powerful performance. “I can tell he meant a lot to you,” Richie said after Tongi's audition, reports The U.S. Sun. “You hit a nerve, and that’s what great storytellers do,” Perry said. “That’s what great artists do, and your voice is just so magnificent.” Bryan added, “I cannot handle your heart breaking about your dad. Just seeing you missing your dad just sucks. Gosh, man, you just got a great voice. ... You just did everything perfectly, and I love you.” Iam Tongi was fortunate to perform the same song with James Blunt during the season finale of the show.
Tongi's phenomenal skill and outstanding performances on Season 21 of American Idol drove him to stardom and gained him a loyal fan base which lead to him winning the title. He is presently a high school senior at Decatur High School in Federal Way, Washington. His alma mater's official Facebook page expressed pride in his exceptional audition and hailed him as an amazing Gator. The post read: "Proud of this amazing Gator! Yitadee!!" Iam has already released his music even before he was named the winner. Back in November 2020, he put out his single Dreams and he shared the four-minute track on famous streaming outlets like Spotify and Apple Music.