Talent Recap

‘American Idol’ Season 21 Winner Iam Tongi Rise to Fame, All Performances

Iam Tongi performs on American IdolABC/Eric McCandless

After intense vocal performances, 18-year-old high school senior Iam Tongi emerged as American Idol season 21 winner. Tongi kicked off his journey by auditioning in New Orleans, ending his not-so smooth-sailing music adventure as the series’ champion.

We followed Tongi’s journey in the series from beginning to end. Let’s take a look back at it.

Iam Tongi American Idol Journey

Audition – “Monsters” by James Blunt

Stepping in the stage of American Idol, Tongibrought so much emotions during this round. This New Orleans native lost his dad a few months ahead of his audition. According to Tongi, he could still hear him harmonizing whenever he attempts to sing a song.

Tongi’s father significantly holds a special place in his heart for it was him who taught him music.  It was also his father who encouraged him to join the competition. Back in the audition room, Tongi had a hard time performing “Monsters” by James Blunt at first, but nevertheless aced the song after he gathered composure. By the end of his act, the judges gave him a standing ovation, all of them moved by Tongi’s song execution.

Hollywood Round – “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt

During the first round of Hollywood Week, Tongi decided to work with CONFIDENCE. As a product of their collaboration, Tongi has sure made his dad proud with Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me.”

During the same week, Tongi sang a duet with Oliver Steele, belting out “Save Your Tears” by The Weeknd. However, just before his performance, his guitar, which his late father lent him, suddenly broke. He nonetheless pushed through with the performance and gave his best. Meanwhile, for his final solo performance, Tongi sang “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel.

Fortunately, Tongi’s entire performance during the Hollywood week was enough to make him a part of Top 26.

Hawaii Round – “Don’t Let Go” by Spawnbreezie

Fort the Hawaii Round, Tongi sang a funky yet calm rendition of “Don’t Let Go” by Spawnbreezie. Throughout his performance, live audience were jamming with him, even making the judges stand to jive with him as well.

Top 20 – “The Winner Takes It All” by ABBA

Tongi continued to prove his vocal prowess as he advanced to the Top 20 of the competition. The high school senior performed “The Winner Takes It All” by ABBA. Like his past performances, Tongi managed to tickle the emotional bone of the crowd.

Top 12 – “Bring It on Home to Me” by Sam Cooke

Sealing a position in the Top 12, Tongi refused to waste his chances and performed an epic rendition of “Bring It on Home to Me” by Sam Cooke. Such singing act received enough votes to mark Tongi safe from eliminations.

Top 10 – “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong

As instructed by judge Luke Bryan, Tongi performed “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. The timeless song was undeniably given justice by Tongi. Thus, it’s not surprising that he received enough votes to advance in the competition.

Top 8 – “Guardian” by Alanis Morissette

Vying to be in the Top 5, Tongi powerfully belted “Guardian” by Alanis Morissette. With this performance, he has made his community impressed and unregretful for the support. Yet, more than that, Tongi has, no doubt, made his father proud.

Top 5 – “Lava” from Lava, “Father and Son” from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

For Disney Night, Tongi magically sang “Lava” from Lava. Indeed, Tongi’s genuine and gentle tone perfectly matched the vibe of this song. He also performed “Father and Son” from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, exuding intense storytelling abilities through music. Eventually, these acts have made Tongi secure a spot in the Finale of American Idol.

Season 21 Finale – “Making Memories of Us” by Keith Urban; “Cool Down,” “I’ll Be Seeing You” by Kolohe Kai

Competing against Megan Danielle and Colin Stough, Tongi sang Keith Urban’s “Making Memories of Us.” He also belted Kolohe Kai’s “Cool Down” and “I’ll be Seeing You.” After these impressive performances, Tongi was announced as American Idol‘s season 21 winner.

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