Iam Tongi Declared A “Superstar” & “Phenomenon” By ‘American Idol’ Judges After Two Impressive Performances

“I’ve never seen a room like up like you make a room light up and it’s very special,” Luke Bryan said of Tongi.

By

Andrew Wendowski

Andrew Wendowski is the Founder and CEO of Music Mayhem. As a 29-year-old entrepreneur, he oversees content as the Editor-In-Chief for the independent brand. Wendowski, who splits time between Philadelphia, Penn., and Nashville, Tenn., has an extensive background in multimedia. Before launching Music Mayhem in 2014, he worked as a highly sought-after photojournalist and tour photographer, collaborating with such labels as Interscope Records and Republic Records. He has captured photos of some of the biggest names, including Taylor Swift, Metallica, Harry Styles, P!NK, Morgan Wallen, Carrie Underwood, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Shania Twain, and hundreds more. Wendowski’s photos and freelance work have appeared nationwide and can be seen everywhere from ad campaigns to various publications, including Billboard and Rolling Stone. When Wendowski isn’t running Music Mayhem, he enjoys spending time at concerts, traveling, and capturing photos.

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Posted on May 15, 2023

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Iam Tongi; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC

Iam Tongi was deemed a “superstar” following his two performances on American Idol’s Disney night on Sunday evening (May 14).

Ahead of his performances, Tongi had the chance to visit Disneyland for the first time ever.

“This is my first time at Disneyland and I love it. It’s so fun. We’re just having the time of our lives out here,” he shared. “Attractions are amazing and brilliant. It was funny to see everyone dancing. Disneyland is the happiest place on earth!”

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

Sofia Carson Is A Fan Of Iam Tongi

Actress Sofia Carson, who appeared in Austin & Ally on the Disney Channel, was on hand to offer Tongi advice.  

“I’m super excited that Sofia’s our mentor because she’s such a great artist. It’s crazy because I’ve been watching her all my life, you know on Disney channel and stuff,” Tongi said. 

Carson gushed over the opportunity to work with Tongi. 

“I have to tell you I’m a fan. You sing and it’s like you lived a million lifetimes,” she told him. 

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

Performed “Lava”

The contestant then took a moment to reveal plans to sing “Lava” from the musical short film of the same name.

“The reason why I love that song is because it takes me to Hawaii and to me, it’s really important for me to represent where I’m from and make people proud,” Tongi explained.

“It’s the beauty of being an artist is connecting with people and they connected with him. It was such a beautiful moment,” Sofia shared. “The lyrics keep them in your heart ‘I have a dream, I hope will come true.’ It’s just so beautiful. It’s so precious.”

For his performance, Tongi gave a nod to his native Hawaii, sporting a colorful shirt and a lei. While strumming a ukulele, Tongi allowed his effortless vocals to shine. He earned a standing ovation.

“Listen Iam, a superhero mom once said ‘your identity is your most valuable possession’ and this is so true for you. You know exactly who you are and honey that is a superstar,” Katy Perry applauded.

“Yeah, I mean, authenticity, you are so authentic to what you are and like Katy said you don’t have to do a lot… you don’t have to work hard to go be fake,” Luke Bryan pointed out. “You just come out and have your thing and people just gravitate… I’ve never seen a room like up like you make a room light up and it’s very special.”

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

Lionel Richie also praised Iam Tongi and his storytelling abilities.

“When we first met you who knew that this phenomenon was going to happen, but let me just say this to you. I consider you a master storyteller, you understand me? You don’t have to hit notes, you just have to tell the story, but I want to let you know something right now. Your dreams have come true,” he said.

He Also Performed “Father and Son” By Cat Stevens

During Sunday’s show, Tongi also performed “Father and Son” by Cat Stevens from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Although it was Mother’s Day, Tongi paid tribute to his late father with his second performance.

Following another memorable performance from the Hawaii native, Perry told him, Iam stands for “I AM the next American Idol.” 

Heart-Wrenching Idol Audition

This isn’t the first time Iam has honored his father. During Iam Tongi’s Idol audition, he brought the judges to tears with a moving rendition of James Blunt’s 2019 hit “Monsters.” 

The emotional performance earned Tongi a ticket to Hollywood and served as the start of his incredible American Idol journey. 

American Idol Top 3 Revealed

Ultimately, Iam Tongi’s performances earned him a spot in the Top 3 alongside Megan Danielle and Colin Stough. 

Each of the final contestants will release their debut singles on Friday, May 19.

Colin Stough, Megan Danielle, Iam Tongi; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC
Colin Stough, Megan Danielle, Iam Tongi; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC

They will face off for the title of American Idol during the three-hour season finale of American Idol on Sunday, May 21 at 8 pm ET. 

Live from Hollywood, the finale will feature performances by the judges, Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie, as well as guest performers Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard, Ellie Goulding, James Blunt, Jazmine Sullivan, Jelly Roll, Keith Urban (who is also mentoring Top 3), Kevin Cronin from REO Speedwagon, Kylie Minogue, Lainey Wilson, Lauren Daigle, Pitbull, and TLC.

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Andrew Wendowski is the Founder and CEO of Music Mayhem. As a 29-year-old entrepreneur, he oversees content as the Editor-In-Chief for the independent brand. Wendowski, who splits time between Philadelphia, Penn., and Nashville, Tenn., has an extensive background in multimedia. Before launching Music Mayhem in 2014, he worked as a highly sought-after photojournalist and tour photographer, collaborating with such labels as Interscope Records and Republic Records. He has captured photos of some of the biggest names, including Taylor Swift, Metallica, Harry Styles, P!NK, Morgan Wallen, Carrie Underwood, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Shania Twain, and hundreds more. Wendowski’s photos and freelance work have appeared nationwide and can be seen everywhere from ad campaigns to various publications, including Billboard and Rolling Stone. When Wendowski isn’t running Music Mayhem, he enjoys spending time at concerts, traveling, and capturing photos.

See more posts from Andrew Wendowski