American Idol: Iam Tongi Continued to Wow in Hollywood

Iam Tongi American Idol 2023
(ABC/Eric McCandless) IAM TONGI

American Idol 2023: Viral Auditioner Iam Tongi Continues to Wow in Hollywood

American Idol Season 21 Hollywood Week had a sizzling hot start for a brand new performance round where contestants were able to choose a category to work on. (Read our Recap)

The three categories were songwriting, confidence, and stage presence. Idol Alumni returned to mentor. Catie Turner and Phillip Phillips mentored songwriting, Clay Aiken and David Archuleta mentored confidence, and Justin Guarini and Jordin Sparks mentored stage presence. There were a few emotional moments and a lot of stunning vocals. We ended the night with a viral auditioner who wowed once again, named Iam Tongi.

Iam’s audition has over 150 million views across social media platforms to date, and it has become a viral sensation, so it’s no surprise that his audition ended the episode and set the singer up to be a major threat this season.

Iam decided to tackle confidence as his category. “I need to open my eyes when I sing,” Iam noted one of his major issues as a performer. When asked about what he sees when he closes his eyes by host Ryan Seacrest, he replied, “my dad.” Fans are reminded of his emotional story from his audition where he revealed that he lost his dad a few months prior to his big audition and that his dad, whom Iam used to sing with, is a big musical inspiration.

Clay Aiken mentored Iam on his confidence


Clay Aiken, Season 2 runner-up served as Iam’s confidence mentor. He tells Iam, “beautiful song, beautiful voice” about his first audition. Clay advises him to look at people’s foreheads to at least acknowledge they are there. Iam wants to take this tip, and also says he will be thinking about his family while he sings.

Iam sings the classic ballad, “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt. He rearranges to it a key that seems to suit his voice and relaxed phrasing well. Iam’s voice is simplistic, but the way he phrases each word with meaning, makes his artistry shine through. Viewers will enjoy his singing as he does not oversing, and he pours emotion into the lyrics to make them even more relatable. His voice is versatile and is reminiscent of great acoustic pop vocalists like James Bay.

This episode was strong. Other than Iam there were a few other captivating singers like Hannah Nicolaisen and Dawson Wayne, whose storytelling originals were refreshing. Other vocals that showed some serious vocal chops were Emma Busse, Oliver Steele, Lucy Love, Marybeth Byrd and Kya Monée. With all these great vocalists, hopefully some pair up Monday to create some very strong duets for duet round.

About Blake Busch 242 Articles
I am a graduate of Drake University with a BSBA in marketing and minor in data analytics. My favorite shows to follow are American Idol and The Voice. I also love crime thrillers, Top Chef, and Masterchef. My hobbies include cooking, baking, playing basketball, and watching sports.