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Latter-day Saint Singer Iam Tongi Wins American Idol

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From a viral audition that left the judges in tears to a celebratory win on Season 21 of American Idol, William “Iam” Tongi brought a warm and powerful spirit to each performance that aligns with both his hometown of Kahuku, Hawaii, and his personal faith. The 18-year-old Latter-day Saint sought to honor his late father, who passed from cancer a few months before the show and was the inspiration for Tongi getting into music. He became the youngest male ever to win.

“People thought I cry because I miss him, but it’s ’cause I hear him singing—I can hear his harmony,” Tongi told producers after his first audition. “I know he’s with me. Through my music he’ll always be with me.”


Throughout the show, Tongi mentioned his faith on social media, including posting about General Conference and singing hymns with fellow contestants.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by William Tongi (@wtongi)

Tongi was given a warm welcome as he visited Hawaii and the Polynesian Cultural Center throughout his run on the show.

Iam Tongi while visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center.


Take a look back at some of Tongi’s most memorable performances this season on Idol.




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Aleah Ingram
Aleah Ingram
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.

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