This week, American Idol contestant Iam Tongi went viral for a powerful audition that touched hearts all across the country. I’m warning you – get your tissues ready now!
While introducing himself, the 18-year-old said he grew up in Kahuku (a town on O’ahu) and moved to Seattle three years ago. When asked why he would leave Hawai’i, he replied, “Priced out of paradise.”
Iam went on to share that his father died just a few months ago.
The singer began getting emotional…
…and Lionel Richie had some comforting words.
Before wiping away his tears, the high school student said he’d be singing “Monsters” by James Blunt, and he dedicated the song to his dad, Rodney.
And when Iam started singing, my god! He could not have chosen a more fitting yet heartbreaking song. You can just feel the love and loss pouring out of him. By the end, my chest was aching, and my own eyes were filled with tears.
I wasn’t the only one who got emotional:
Obviously, the judges showered Iam with praise:
And the internet had a lot to say, too! Tons of people were brought to tears:
Some shared their stories about their own fathers:
And many Pacific Islanders shared their love and pride for Iam:
After his audition finished, Iam dedicated his golden ticket to his dad. He said that people often think he’s crying because he misses him, but that’s not the whole story. “It’s because I hear him singing. I can hear how he would harmonize with me in that song.”
We are all so proud of you, Iam! Best of luck throughout the rest of the competition. I’ll be rooting for you!