Iam Tongi has won ‘American Idol’.
The 18-year-old singer overcame competition from runners-up Megan Danielle and Colin Stough to win the coveted crown during a star-studded finale on ABC.
Iam Tongi – born in Hawaii but is of Tongan and Samoan heritage – became the winner of the 21st season of the show, after he wowed the judges and the TV audience with his performance of ‘Don’t Let Go’ by Spawnbreezie.
Iam Tongi also impressed the judges with his rendition of ‘Making Memories of Us’, which he revealed is one of his parents’ favourite songs.
The performance prompted a standing ovation from the judges, and Katy Perry was visibly moved by the song.
She said: “I don’t think it matters what I say.” Lionel Richie also heaped praise on the high school student, admitting that he was overcome with emotion.
Iam Tongi shared: “You are an incredible story teller. And like Katy – I hate to say it – why am I sitting here tearing up on a song I already know but you have a great delivery.”
Iam was joined on stage by James Blunt and they performed the track ‘Monsters’ together.
The teenager sang the song during his ‘American Idol‘ audition and he dedicated his performance to his late father Rodney.
Reflecting on the heartfelt performance, Iam’s mother Lillie said: “This is what Rodney dreamed about. He wanted everyone to hear what Iam had, and I feel like this is where he was meant to be.”
Ryan Seacrest subsequently announced Iam as the winner of this year’s ‘American Idol’, ahead of Megan and Colin.
Meanwhile, the star-studded, three-hour finale also featured performances from the likes of Kylie Minogue, Pitbull, TLC, and Clay Aiken.
Kylie, 54, sang her new song ‘Padam Padam’ off her upcoming album, ‘Tension’.