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Iam Tongi, the 18-year-old winner of American Idol, shares his thoughts on his ‘rigging’ scandal

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The 21st season of American Idol recently concluded with the crowning of Iam Tongi, an 18-year-old singer with a remarkable voice, as the winner. Despite amassing a dedicated fanbase across the nation due to his vocal prowess, Tongi’s victory hasn’t been without controversy, with some questioning the legitimacy of his win and implying that it might be ‘rigged’.

Iam Tongi has now broken his silence regarding these allegations, standing up against the rumors surrounding his victory. The young singer has also addressed the ongoing controversy involving one of the show’s judges, Katy Perry. The nature of his responses or the specifics of the controversy involving Perry were not disclosed in the original report.

The victory of Iam Tongi in American Idol season 21 has sparked a great deal of debate among fans and followers. Many believe that Colin Stough, the runner-up, was more deserving of the title. Critics argue that Tongi’s win was influenced by his emotional backstory, rather than purely on his musical talent.

 

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A post shared by William Tongi (@wtongi)

In response to the controversy, Tongi revealed that he doesn’t take these criticisms to heart; on the contrary, he appreciates them. The young singer said, “A lot of people are like, ‘Colin Stough was robbed,’ or whatever. And I just love it.” Tongi credits his late father, Rodney Tongi, for his resilience in the face of criticism.

Before passing away in 2021, his father had prepared him for the possibility of backlash and people not liking him, which has helped him manage the controversy following his American Idol win.

Iam Tongi shared some wisdom imparted by his father, saying, “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 maintained an accepting outlook towards criticism, acknowledging that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and differing views are simply a part of life.

 

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Addressing how he handles negativity, Tongi expressed his approach of countering it with kindness. Surprisingly, he even ‘likes’ some of the negative posts he encounters on social media. Tongi manages to maintain his sense of humor amidst the criticism, stating, “I just like [them], whatever what they say, ’cause you know, [I gotta] let those things happen.” He admitted to being guilty of enjoying the controversy to a certain extent, adding, “But look, [my] music’s not for everyone. And I have to learn that the hard way.” His comments reflect his resilience and positivity in dealing with the intense scrutiny following his American Idol win.

Iam Tongi, with his Tongan and Samoan heritage, has carved out a historic moment as the first Hawaii native to win American Idol. In addition to his personal responses to the controversy, Tongi took the opportunity to express his feelings towards Colin Stough, the runner-up. Dismissing any potential animosity, he said, “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.”

The young star seemed to appreciate the diverse tastes of music lovers, finding joy in the fact that fans are passionate about various musical styles. He took a positive view on the heated debates over who should have won, remarking, “They love Colin that much [that they say], ‘He should have won.’ And that makes me happy, to be honest.” It appears that Tongi is taking the entire experience in stride, focusing on the love of music that connects him with fans and fellow artists alike.

 

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Iam Tongi expressed gratitude for the support he has received from his community and articulated his intention to remain true to himself rather than pursuing popularity. He said, “I love [my] community coming out and supporting me and showing up [for me], and 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.”

The young singer also briefly touched on the controversy involving American Idol judge Katy Perry. Rumors have been swirling that Perry may leave the show due to the backlash she received over comments made in the previous season. The specifics of these comments and their consequences weren’t detailed, leaving the future of Perry’s involvement with American Idol uncertain.

Speaking on the potential departure of Katy Perry from American Idol, Iam Tongi expressed his sadness at the prospect. He fondly recalled the fun he had with all the judges during his time on the show, noting the supportive and loving environment created by Perry. He stated, “[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].”

 

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Regarding his own journey, the reality of winning American Idol still seems surreal to Tongi. Currently, the 18-year-old is working on his debut album, which he hints will resonate with a ‘Jack Johnson kind of vibe.’ Despite the controversies, it appears that Tongi is truly relishing his time in the spotlight as the show’s winner.

What’s your take on Iam Tongi’s American Idol victory? Do share your thoughts in the comments section below.