Contributing Gear Editor

The Inertia

At the conclusion of season 21 of American Idol, 18-year-old Iam Tongi was crowned the winner. Hailing from Kahuku, Hawaii, Tongi is the first Pacific Islander to ever win the show. Although Tongi is from Hawaii, he told judges during his audition that he was “priced out of paradise” and has resided in Seattle since 2019.

During his time on the show, Tongi captivated the hearts of the judges and viewers as he shared his story of playing alongside his father, who passed away in December 2021. Tongi sang “Monsters” by James Blunt during his audition, which he dedicated to his dad. Throughout his time on the show, he played his dad’s guitar and continued to impress with each performance.

In the above video, Tongi performs alongside Jack Johnson at a homecoming concert at Turtle Bay Resort. Tongi is scheduled to headline Ohana Day at Turtle Bay on July 1.


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