American Idol” crowned Iam Tongi as its Season 21 winner over the weekend.
Tongi, 18, of Kahuku, Hawaii, bested two other candidates during the finale of “American Idol” Season 21 on Sunday, beating runner-up Megan Danielle, 19, from Douglasville, Georgia, and third-place Colin Stough, 18, from Amory, Mississippi.
Tongi notably performed his original song “I’ll Be Seeing You” during the three-hour finale.
Besides his original track, the high school student also performed “Monsters” alongside the song’s original singer and composer, British singer James Blunt.
Tongi dedicated the song to his father, who died from kidney disease months before his audition, much like Blunt’s father. Blunt previously explained to “Good Morning Britain” that he wrote the song as a way to say goodbye to his father.
“I was not worried about whether you were going to make it through the song, I was worried about whether we were going to make it through the song. Your daddy is very proud,” judge Lionel Richie told Tongi after his audition.
As part of this year’s “American Idol” finale, each of the three finalists had to perform a song by finale mentor Keith Urban.
Danielle chose Urban’s song “God Whispered Your Name,” while Stough picked “Stupid Boy” and Tongi went with “Making Memories of Us.”
Tongi received a standing ovation from the audience and judges, with judge Luke Bryan telling him that he has a “natural gift from God to create the emotion, to tell the story.”
Tongi also notably performed the song “Cool Down” by Hawaiian musical group Kolohe Kai.
Born and raised in Kahuku, Tongi and his family moved to Seattle a few years before his audition.
He is reportedly set to graduate from Decatur High School in Federal Way, Washington, in June.
Other aspiring artists who hail from Hawaii have previously auditioned for “American Idol,” including Jasmine Trias, Season 2’s Jordan Segundo, Season 3’s Camile Velasco and Season 19’s Liahona Olayan.