LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) – Iam Tongi was chosen as the winner of ABC’s American Idol for season 21. Tongi took home the title with Megan Danielle and Colin Stough, finishing second and third, respectively. Tongi is an 18-year-old Hawaiian native who was crowned during Sunday’s live special on (May 21).
At the time of his Idol audition, Tongi informed the judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan that his father had just passed away a couple of months ago (kidney illness) and that his audition with the song “Monsters” was dedicated to his late father.
With acoustic guitar in hand, Tongi sang the lyrics to the James Blunt song and all three Idol judges became visibly moved by his performance, wiping away tears with a tissue. At the song’s end, all three judges gave a standing ovation and passed Tongi on to Hollywood.
Idol judge Richie then said to him, “it’s alright man, it’s alright” before continuing, “I was not worried about whether you were going to make it through the song, I was worried about whether we were going to make it through the song. Your daddy’s very proud.”
Country superstar singer Bryan connected to Tongi throughout the performance as he took in his nephew Til Cheshire, who also lost a father.
“I cannot handle your heartbreaking about your Dad because my nephew lost his dad and he came to live with me and to see you missing your dad just sucks,” Bryan said as tears fell down his face. ”And gosh man, you got a great voice, you got a great voice. You just did everything perfect and I love ya, and I just want to see you have fun in this whole thing man. It’s just awesome. Awesome that you just did that to me and your 18 years old.”
In what can only be described as a dream come true, Tongi performed his audition song “Monsters” on the American Idol finale with none other than singer/songwriter Blunt – who also lost his father to kidney illness and for whom the track was penned for.
In the finale, Tongi and hitmaker Blunt joined forces to perform the track together, bringing Bryan, guest Jelly Roll, Perry and many viewers to tears with the emotional performance. The pair traded verses while on stage with Tongi becoming emotional mid-song and wiping tears from his eyes in a way to compose himself.
Jelly Roll, country’s newest star, was seen comforting Tongi’s mother from the audience. That performance being a definitive highlight from the season 21 finale. You can watch the performance below.
Also in attendance at the star-studded finale was Keith Urban, Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard, Ellie Goulding, Lauren Daigle, Pitbull, Kevin Cronin, Jazmine Sullivan, Kylie Minogue, Lainey Wilson, and TLC.
Pitbull and Lil’ Jon kicked off the show with a performance of “Jumpin,” before the Top 12 contestants joined the self-proclaimed “Mr. Worldwide” on his song, “Give Me Everything.” TLC and Lucy Love collaborate on a medley of “No Scrubs,” “Creep,” and “Waterfalls.” Jelly Roll and Wilson performed their hit single, “Save Me,” before he went into his next hit, “Need a Favor.” Minogue hit the stage afterwards, singing two songs with help from Nutsa.
All three Idol judges performed along with Goulding – accompanied by Calvin Harris on “Miracle” and Tyson Venegas on “Burn.” Daigle then sings “These are the Days,” before finalist Danielle joins her on “Thank God I Do.”
Tongi recently released his debut single, “I’ll Be Seeing You,” written by season 19 Idol alum Francisco Martin. The track serves as a tribute to a loved one who passed away. Again, for Tongi, that person is his father.
The song, released on Friday (May 19) was produced by Oak for the Orphanage, Feenom and Roland Kiss.