Iam Tongi, the 18-Year-Old American Idol Champion, Breaks Silence on ‘Rigging’ Controversy

Iam Tongi, an 18-year-old contestant, has emerged as the winner of the highly popular music competition, American Idol, in its 21st season. Nevertheless, there are skeptics who believe that runner-up Colin Stough was unjustly denied the title. These individuals assert that Iam’s triumph was not solely based on his talent and singing abilities but rather on the emotional background story he shared with the judges and audience.

18-year-old American Idol winner Iam Tongi finally responds to his ‘rigging’ scandal

In response to these allegations, Iam, the first-ever contestant from Hawaii to claim victory in the show, expressed his indifference towards the criticism. In fact, he even embraces it. “A lot of people are like, ‘Colin Stough was robbed,’ or whatever. And I just love it,” the teenager shared candidly with Daily Mail regarding his polarizing win. Furthermore, he revealed that his late father, who passed away in 2021, had forewarned him about encountering backlash in life and facing people who may not appreciate his music.

“My dad always told me that your music’s not meant for everyone. There’s going to be people that are not going to like it and that’s OK, that’s normal,” he explained. “Everyone gets their own opinion. Everyone gets to think what they think. So, it’s fine.” When it comes to handling the hate, Iam stated that his approach is to respond with kindness. He even goes as far as “liking” some of the critical posts he encounters on social media. “I just like [them], whatever they say, ’cause you know, [I gotta] let those things happen,” he added with a touch of good humor. “I am guilty for liking it. But look, [my] music’s not for everyone. And I have to learn that the hard way,” the winner acknowledged.

Addressing the runner-up, Colin Stough, Iam expressed no hard feelings toward him. “I love Colin man, he’s such a kind guy. I’m going to see him again; we are going to jam out again and have fun,” he graciously stated about Colin. “But yeah… it makes me happy to see that people love other styles of music as much as I do,” he continued. “They love Colin that much [that they say], ‘He should have won.’ And that makes me happy, to be honest. I love [my] community coming out and supporting me and showing up [for me]. I’m not going to really chase after fans. I’m going to be myself and do what I love and just have fun while I’m doing it and see whatever happens, happens,” he explained.

Moreover, Iam shared his sincere thoughts about judge Katy Perry, who might leave the show due to the backlash she faced over some of her comments during the final season. “All the judges are so fun, and we had a lot of fun with them while I was on Idol. The support [Katy] gives and the love [she] gives to the contestants would be missed. I would miss Katy [if she left],” the young winner expressed.

Regardless of the comments and controversy, Iam is enjoying his victory and everything that comes with it. Presently, he is working on his debut album, which he describes as having a “Jack Johnson kind of vibe.”

Related Posts