American Idol winner Iam Tonji speaks out after the backlash

television

May 23, 2023 | 12:25 p.m


On Monday, Iam Tonji spoke about winning “American Idol” after being crowned the youngest male winner of the competition and how he honored his late father during his time on the show.

‘It’s amazing’ Tonji, 18, for TV Insider. “I was so happy everyone voted. Thank you everyone. Now that I’m the ‘idol’ for the 21st season, it’s crazy.”

Tunji’s remarks came after several viewers claimed that the entire competition was “rigged” in favor of a high school student and that his victory was due to a “sympathy vote”.

One naysayer tweeted that while Tonji “She had the best sob story,” The competition was about musical talent.

Since his initial audition for “Idol” three months ago, Hawaiian-born Veydo has been as well It got 16 million views Which makes it the highest rated video on the show’s YouTube page.

During his time on the show, the Hawaii native told judges Katy Perry, 38, Lionel Richie, 73, and Luke Bryan, 46, that he lost his father a few months before his audition due to stage 4 kidney disease.

As the show progressed, Tonji continued to use his late father’s guitar during every performance until a mid-season break.


On Monday, Iam Tonji spoke about winning “American Idol” after being crowned the youngest man ever to win the competition.
Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images

“It’s amazing,” Tunji, 18, told TV Insider. “I was so happy everyone voted. Thank you everyone. Now that I’m the ‘idol’ for the 21st season, it’s crazy.”
Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images

Tunji’s remarks came after several viewers claimed that the entire contest was “rigged” in favor of a high school student and that his victory was due to a “sympathy vote”.
ABC

“I always wanted to play my dad’s guitar,” said Tonji. “But when it broke out the first time, it was hard.”

According to the singer, his mother told him as well as another “Idol” contestant named Oliver Steele, who made it to the show’s Top 8 list and developed a close relationship with Tongi, that “it wasn’t about the guitar but the voice.”

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“I was just beginning to believe that my dad would be with me regardless of whether I used him or not,” Tonge continued. “The guitar will always be a treasure.”


William Tonge (right) beat out Megan Danielle for first place on “Idol.”
Instagram / Iam Tongi

As the show progressed, Tonji continued to use his late father’s guitar during every performance until a mid-season break.
ABC

Tonji stopped the show during Sunday’s finale with two stunning performances of Keith Urban’s “Making Memories of Us” — which brought the judge to tears — and James Blunt’s “Monsters,” which he sang with the British pop star.

According to the singer, his entire experience on the show taught him that “it’s not a bad thing to talk about your problems and what you’re going through”.

So where does Tonji go from here?


Tonji stopped the show on Sunday with two stunning performances of Keith Urban’s “Making Memories of Us,” bringing judges Lionel Richie (left), Katy Perry and Luke Bryan to tears.
ABC

The “Idol” winner said he plans to expand his musical horizons.

“I don’t want to limit myself to one type of music because I love all music,” Tonji told the outlet. “I just want to enjoy it.”

Despite the hate, other viewers were excited about the young adult.

“Congratulations to American Idol Hawaiian Iam Tonji,” chirp Hawaii Governor Josh Green with a photo of the star.

“Congratulations @wtongi! It’s been a great season of #AmericanIdol, excited to hear more of your music,” tweeted a fan.

“American Idol got it right. Congratulations Iam Tongi,” a third fan declared.




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