American Idol Singer Iam Tongi Reacts to "Crazy" Season 21 Win

After Iam Tongi was declared the winner of American Idol, the singer reflected on his victory in an exclusive interview with E! News.

By Elyse Dupre May 22, 2023 6:03 PMTags
Watch: Katy Perry REACTS to Iam Tongi's American Idol Win

A new American Idol has been crowned.

After Iam Tongi was declared the winner of season 21, the singer expressed his excitement over securing the title.

"It's crazy," he exclusively told E! News after his victory (see more of his interview on tonight's episode of E! News). "It feels so weird to talk about, to say it out loud, but it's crazy.

Iam entered the finale alongside Megan Danielle, who came in second, and Colin Stough, who finished third. During the episode, the contestant from Kahuku, Hawaii, sang a variety of hits, including Keith Urban's "Making Memories of Us," Kolohe Kai's "Cool Down," and an emotional duet of "Monsters" with James Blunt in which Iam paid tribute to his late father Rodney.

"He grabbed my arm, that made me cry even more," the 18-year-old noted about James. "No, I love James Blunt. I'm so glad he came out and sang. His voice is so insane. It sounds like heartbreak when he sings, you know what I mean? And that's what I love about his voice, and he's such a nice guy. So for him to come out and sing with me is amazing."

American Idol: Where Are They Now?

Iam also performed his own single "I'll Be Seeing You" in honor of his dad. And after host Ryan Seacrest revealed the results, the high school student sang Spawnbreezie's "Don't Let Go" as confetti fell and his fellow contestants joined him on the stage to celebrate.

As for how Iam planned to celebrate after the show? "Go out and hang out with my family," he said. "That's all I want to do."

ABC/Eric McCandless

Win or lose, judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan are proud of all the finalists. 

"It's been emotional like a good therapy session," the "Roar" artist told E!. "Just to see these kids, young people—younger than me—just grow and get what they came for. Even if they didn't win, they got what they came for. There's something that was sparked in them that can never be put back or be not believed in." 

And Lionel offered Iam some advice on this new chapter.

"He's gonna be on a journey now. He's gotta rock it," the "Stuck on You" star added. "Remember now, winning no. 1 is one thing. Maintaining no. 1 is called the hard work. He's got a great family support. The village raised him. So, he's got the support. Right now, he needs to think how do I get, first of all, across America and then around the world one song at a time?"

For now, Iam is enjoying his win and expressing his gratitude to everyone who voted for him. 

"Thank you everyone for voting!" he wrote on Instagram. "Love all you guys! Thank you so much, yessah blessa never stressa! #idol #idolwinner."

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