‘American Idol’ winner Iam Tongi: I ‘love’ the drama of ‘rigging’ accusations

“American Idol” winner Iam Tongi says he enjoys the “drama” of “rigging” accusations surrounding his Season 21 victory. 

“Lots of people are like, ‘[Runner-up] Colin Stough was robbed,’ or no matter. And I simply adore it,” he instructed the Day by day Mail in an interview printed Thursday. 

The 18-year-old singer went on to say that his late father, Rodney Tongi — who died in 2021 — ready him for any public scrutiny ought to his music take off.

“My dad at all times instructed me that your music’s not meant for everybody. There’s going to be individuals that aren’t going to love it and that’s OK, that’s regular,” he defined.

“Everybody will get their very own opinion. Everybody will get to assume what they assume. So, it’s high-quality.”

Iam Tongi
“American Idol” winner Iam Tongi isn’t letting “rigging” accusations get to him.
ABC
Megan Danielle, Iam Tongi, Colin Stough
“Lots of people are like, ‘'[Runner-up] Colin Stough was robbed,’ or no matter. And I simply adore it,” he instructed the Day by day Mail.
ABC

Iam mentioned he typically showers his haters with kindness as a coping mechanism. 

“I simply ‘like’ [the comments], no matter what they are saying, ’trigger , [I gotta] let these issues occur,” he shared. 


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“I’m responsible for liking it. However look, [my] music’s not for everybody. And I’ve to study that the arduous method.”

Iam Tongi
Tongi made historical past as the primary Hawaiian to win “American Idol” within the present’s 21-year historical past.
ABC

On Sunday, Iam — who is of Tongan and Samoan heritage — turned the primary Hawaiian to win “American Idol” because the competitors actuality present debuted in the summertime of 2002. 

A loud portion of viewers claimed your complete competitors was “rigged” in the highschool senior’s favor and his win was as a result of a “sympathy vote.”

Iam instructed judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan that he misplaced his father a number of months previous to his audition as a result of stage 4 kidney illness. He used his dad’s guitar in each efficiency till it broke mid-season. 

Iam Tongi
A loud portion of viewers claimed your complete competitors was “rigged” in the highschool senior’s favor and his win was as a result of a “sympathy vote.”
ABC

One on-line critic tweeted that whereas Iam “had the best sob story,” the competitors ought to have centered on expertise. 

One other polarizing facet of “American Idol” Season 21 was Perry’s efficiency as a decide. Whereas many viewers felt her critiques had been harsh, Iam instructed the Day by day Mail that he loved his interactions with the pop celebrity. 

“[All the judges] are so enjoyable and we had lots of enjoyable with them whereas I used to be on ‘Idol,’” he mentioned, including that he thinks Perry, 38, ought to keep put. 

Katy Perry on "American Idol."
Tongi additionally shared his tackle Katy Perry’s latest efficiency as a decide on the sequence.
ABC through Getty Photos

“The help [Katy] provides and the love [she] provides to the contestants can be missed. I’d miss Katy [if she left].”

The “Firework” singer reportedly desires to step down as a decide on “Idol” as a result of she feels misrepresented by the present.

Per the Day by day Mail, Perry believes she has been repeatedly “thrown beneath the bus by producers” who she feels have edited the present to make her seem like the “nasty decide.”