Iam Tongi Brings Alanis Morissette To Tears With Emotional Tribute To His Mother on ‘American Idol’

“Me listening to Iam sing it as though I was his mom brought me to tears,” Morissette said of Tongi’s performance of “Guardian.”


Andrew Wendowski


Posted on May 7, 2023

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Iam Tongi; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC

Iam Tongi returned to the American Idol stage with a sweet Top 8 performance dedicated to his mother. 

Tongi chose to sing Alanis Morissette’s “Guardian” in honor of his mom. Morissette, who was serving as a guest judge for the episode, also took time to mentor the contestants.   

“This song was initially written about my own inner parent talking with all these parts in here and then the chorus was about my son. So kind of turning it around,” she said. 

Iam Tongi; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC
Iam Tongi; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC

Brought Alanis To Tears With His Performance

Morissette admitted she got emotional during Iam’s performance of the song. 

“Me listening to Iam sing it as though I was his mom brought me to tears because he has this presence of power and yet also has this beautiful vulnerability. If any of my children sang that song to me, I would be a mess. I would love to hear you split it up into three parts. The very, very intimate, the middle and then that full-blown.”

The contestant was grateful for Morissette’s guidance and advice.  

Iam Tongi; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC
Iam Tongi; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC

“Running through the dynamics of the song, it was hard for me. I don’t really know how to go big, but she helped me a lot,” he said, adding “I really want to make Alanis proud, but I mostly want to make my mom proud because this song is about her to her.” 

“I think there’s a potential for Iam to have a really sweet moment here,” Morissette added prior to his performance.

READ: Who Is Iam Tongi? 10 Fun Facts About The ‘American Idol’ Contestant

Watch Iam Tongi’s Emotional Performance Of Alanis Morissette’s “Guardian” Below

As his mother and his siblings watched on from the crowd, Tongi delivered a moving performance of “Guardian.” 

YouTube video

At the conclusion of the performance, the live audience began chanting his name. 

The judges, including Luke Bryan, and guest judges Alanis Morissette and Ed Sheeran were completely enamored with Iam Tongi’s performance.   

“You took what we shared and brainstormed together to a whole other level and your level of empathy… first that you’re singing it to your mom, I mean, I can’t even. Just the empathy in your voice, you have this velvety voice and the planet I believe needs empathy now more than ever and you’re being this and you’re showing up here and showing the planet what it looks like to live and perform from empathy is such a huge gift,” Morissette shared. 

Sheeran Praised Tongi’s Connection With The Idol Audience

Ed Sheeran praised Tongi’s ability to connect with the audience.  

“I just felt like you really connected with the song and that makes us as listeners connect with it. It was just really, really beautiful,” he said. 

Bryan’s comments were short, simple, and to the point. “Great job man, you just always light the room up and it’s obvious when you do,” he said.

Iam Tongi; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC
Iam Tongi; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC

Iam Tongi And Oliver Steele Covered Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph”

Earlier in the show, Tongi joined Oliver Steele for a performance of Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph.” 

“Just how well your voices compliment each other. It was so beautiful to listen to like your vocal tones fit so well with each other. I know that both of you have like… I’m listening to it knowing that there’s a crazy power singing ability that’s in there, but just gentleness and soulfulness you’re bringing… I got emotional listening to that, it was good,” he said. 

Morisette then addressed the pair. “Iam and Oliver, I just know you’re coming from two completely different places and yet you have this really cohesive respective connection with each other. I was just really moved and hearing men be vulnerable is… be still my beating heart,” she admitted. 

Bryan praised the contestants’ “beautiful harmonies” and complimented the overall performance. 

YouTube video

Earned A Spot In The Top 5

Iam Tongi ultimately earned a spot in the Top 5.

Alanis Morissette And Ed Sheeran Temporarily Replaced Katy Perry And Lionel Richie

Ed Sheeran and Alanis Morissette are temporarily replacing Katy Perry and Lionel Richie while they are in England performing as part of the Coronation Celebration for King Charles III. 

“I can’t wait to guide you through this stage of the competition and career and yeah this is the first time I’ve done this on American Idol, I can’t wait to take the iconic American Idol stage,” Sheeran previously shared. “Mostly, I’m just looking forward to meeting all of you and talking through life and music and I hope you’re having a great time and I’ll see you very, very soon. Lots of love.”

“I am so excited to be mentoring and hearing your interpretations of my songs. I can’t wait to hear them and surprise I’m going to be guest judging with Luke as well. So I can’t wait to see you,” Morissette previously added.

YouTube video

Perry and Richie made a brief appearance during Idol with a video from Windsor Castle.

American Idol airs every Sunday and Monday at 8/7c via ABC.

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