From the moment he auditioned, Iam Tongi’s voice captivated America. Week after week, the 18-year-old has shown why he’s music’s next big thing. His American Idol performances are heartfelt, emotional, and always authentic. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Iam about making it to American Idol’s top 3.
“I’m nervous, scared, because last week was a scare, but I’m just trying to practice and be ready,” he said about how he’s feeling leading up to the May 21 grand finale. “I’m just going to give it my all.”
Iam will perform during the grand finale along with his fellow top 3 contestants, Megan Danielle and Colin Stough. Even though they’re competitors, the bond between the top 3 is a strong one. “We’ve been close since the beginning, all of us. Now that it gets smaller and smaller, we’re just getting closer and closer because we need to get our minds off to competition. It’s just going to make us nervous, so we just crack jokes a lot, laugh, and hang out a lot,” Iam admitted.
The 18-year-old has evolved so much as an artist since that first audition, and he’ll be the first to admit how much the show has made him believe in himself more. “I’ve just become more confident because I’m hearing the judges say I’m good, which has helped my self-confidence,” Iam told HollywoodLife. “It doesn’t matter what everyone else says because my music’s not for everyone, but when the judges were saying that it was really bringing up my confidence.”
Every time Iam performs on American Idol, the crowd erupts into cheers. He’s already amassed a large social media following with over 500,000 Instagram followers. His audition has been viewed on YouTube over 16 million times.
“It’s a crazy feeling. I just started this thing as a kid that got priced out of paradise, living in Washington, and scared. Now that people listen to my music, it’s crazy,” Iam said.
Between Iam, Megan, and Colin, only one will walk away the winner of American Idol season 21. Iam revealed what winning American Idol would mean to him. “If it happens, it would be amazing,” he said. “I made it to top 3 and that’s crazy. I didn’t expect to make it to the auditions, but now that I’m here in the top 3, and if I make it to top 1 that would be insane. Dreams can come true.”
Regardless of the results in the grand finale, Iam is already planning for the future. “I just want to play concerts and live performances because I really love performing live,” he told HollywoodLife. “It just feels good when I’m on that stage and the lights and I just close my eyes and get into that feel. When other people witness that and also can connect to it’s just crazy.” The 3-hour grand finale of American Idol will air May 21 at 8 p.m. on ABC.