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Who is ‘American Idol’ winner Iam Tongi? Biography, Age, father Rodney, mother Lillie, brother and sisters

BY Sharmeen Hussain May 22, 2023. 05:42 pm UPDATED: May 22, 2023. 05:42 pm

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Iam Tongi is the next American Idol after a nail-biting three-hour finals!

Tongi, 18, was voted the winner of the singing competition series’ season finale on Sunday after a magnificent performance of his own song “I’ll Be Seeing You.”

He faced Megan Danielle and Colin Stough, who finished second and third, respectively.

Tongi sang “Don’t Let Go” after being proclaimed the winner by presenter Ryan Seacrest, while his family, the judges, and audience members moved along and celebrated the achievement.

Tongi previously moved the judges to tears at his audition, dedicating the song “Monsters” to his father, who passed several months before his audition.

“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 is very proud,” said judge Lionel Richie at the time, as Katy Perry noted, “What a fantastic song to pick. You’re making these grown men cry.”

“I cannot handle your heart breaking about your dad because my nephew lost his dad and he came to live with me and just seeing you missing your dad sucks. Gosh man, you’ve got a great voice. You did everything perfectly and I love you and want to see you have fun,” added Luke Bryan.

Earlier this month, Perry, 38, opened up to PEOPLE in a group interview about how the competition was fierce — but Tongi had something special.
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“I think that the top three is strong, I think Megan Danielle has earned her right to be there and she’s got a new beautiful confidence,” she said.

Perry added, “The sound in the room when Iam comes on is undeniable. He’s an undeniable character. He’s just kind of got this incredible magic. You almost can’t explain it. It’s an it factor. It’s like you’re born to do this, and it’s undeniable.”

Tongi previously moved the judges to tears at his audition, dedicating the song “Monsters” to his father, who died months before his audition.

“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 is very proud,” said judge Lionel Richie at the time, as Katy Perry noted, “What a fantastic song to pick. You’re making these grown men cry.”

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“I cannot handle your heart breaking about your dad because my nephew lost his dad and he came to live with me and just seeing you missing your dad sucks. Gosh man, you’ve got a great voice. You did everything perfectly and I love you and want to see you have fun,” added Luke Bryan.

Earlier this month, Perry, 38, opened up to PEOPLE in a group interview about how the competition was fierce — but Tongi had something special.

“I think that the top three is strong, I think Megan Danielle has earned her right to be there and she’s got a new beautiful confidence,” she said.

Perry added, “The sound in the room when Iam comes on is undeniable. He’s an undeniable character. He’s just kind of got this incredible magic. You almost can’t explain it. It’s an it factor. It’s like you’re born to do this, and it’s undeniable.”

Tongi previously brought the judges to tears during his audition, where he dedicated the song “Monsters” to his father, who died months before his audition.

“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 is very proud,” said judge Lionel Richie at the time, as Katy Perry noted, “What a fantastic song to pick. You’re making these grown men cry.”

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“I cannot handle your heart breaking about your dad because my nephew lost his dad and he came to live with me and just seeing you missing your dad sucks. Gosh man, you’ve got a great voice. You did everything perfectly and I love you and want to see you have fun,” added Luke Bryan.

Earlier this month, Perry, 38, opened up to PEOPLE in a group interview about how the competition was fierce — but Tongi had something special.

“I think that the top three is strong, I think Megan Danielle has earned her right to be there and she’s got a new beautiful confidence,” she said.

Perry added, “The sound in the room when Iam comes on is undeniable. He’s an undeniable character. He’s just kind of got this incredible magic. You almost can’t explain it. It’s an it factor. It’s like you’re born to do this, and it’s undeniable.”

Who is Iam Tongi: All about his family

Iam was born in Hawaii as William Tongi. His family is made up of six people. He is eighteen years old.

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Tongi attended Kahuku High & Intermediate School before enrolling at Washington’s Decatur High School as a senior.

Rodney and Lille Tongi are his parents. The 18-year-old has a brother named Lerod, as well as two sisters named Cassandra Alvina and Leilei Tongi.

Rodney passed away in 2021 at the age of 50. He was diagnosed with renal illness in the fourth stage. He, like his son, was a musician and Iam’s hero.

In the final, Iam Tongi performed ‘Making Memories of Us’ alongside Keith Urban. Following his performance, the American Idol winner said that his late father used to play Urban’s songs to him as a youngster.

“Can I just say one thing? In between you and Megan [Danielle] I had to grab a little tissue and fold it into a triangle because every time you come on and you sing the vibration that comes out of your mouth, it goes through the weeds of people’s hearts and it just gets to them. It moves us so much. So when you sing, I am ready to feel, baby,” Katy Perry reacted emotionally.

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