Iam Tongi had a day to remember on May 21, 2023. That was the night he heard Ryan Seacrest read off his name as the season 21 “American Idol” winner. He became the first Pacific Islander to ever win the singing competition. Megan Danielle finished as runner-up with Colin Stough taking third place.
In addition, Tongi also had the chance to take the stage with James Blunt and perform “Monsters.” This was the song that he went viral with during his ‘American Idol’ audition in the February 19 episode. He played the song in honor of his late father, who passed away in December 2021, after being diagnosed with stage 4 kidney disease.
When he took the stage on finale night, he had the chance to play the song once again while being accompanied by the man behind the track.
Iam Tongi Said it Was ‘Crazy’ to Share the Stage with James Blunt
Appearing on “Good Morning America” on May 23, Tongi was asked about his powerful performance which not only brought tears to the judges but also saw him breaking down mid-song.
“Performing with James Blunt is just crazy,” Tongi said. “It’s such a good song and I was telling myself when I went up there that I’m not going to cry.”
He went on to say that “right when he sang I was like damn.” That was the moment Tongi felt his emotions taking over.
“His voice sounds like heartbreak and heartache,” he said. “I was just so glad he came out singing.”
Going off of the emotions that were elicited through Blunt’s voice, he was asked about the unique ability he has to do the same through his tone and delivery.
“Knowing that I have that impact on people, I say it a lot, it’s just a crazy feeling just to really connect with people in a way,” Tongi said. “And to know there are people out there struggling like me… it’s good to know I’m not alone.”
Iam Tongi Explains Why He Was Looking Down Before Winner Reveal
As Tongi pointed out in his “Good Morning America” interview, his eyes were seen looking downward as Seacrest was getting ready to reveal the results of who would be the next American Idol. Tongi and Danielle stood anxiously awaiting the announcement.
“That moment I was trying to prepare myself for whatever happened,” Tongi said. “You can see me just looking down because no matter what happened, I would be happy.”
He said that it didn’t matter if he won or if Danielle had won, he was just glad to be in that moment, “When they called my name, I was just really excited it was just an amazing experience.”
The experience included an audition video that has reached more than 17 million views as of May 23 on the official “American Idol” Youtube page. His song with Blunt also has already surpassed 2.4 million views as of May 23. As part of being in the Top 3, Tongi also got to release and perform his single, “I’ll Be Seeing You,” which has amassed more than 732,000 views on Youtube since he performed it on May 21.