American Idol Winner Iam Tongi Sings at High School Graduation

(ABC/Eric McCandless) IAM TONGI

American Idol winner Iam Tongi graduates from high school in Washington

American Idol winner, Iam Tongi graduated from High School yesterday.

The 18 year old claims Hawaii as his home, but his family were “priced out” of paradise, he explained to the judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan during the competition. His family ended up in the Seattle Washington area.

The high school he would have graduated from in Hawaii bestowed an honorary diploma on him during his hometown visit in May. However, the singer actually graduated from Decatur High School in Federal Way Washington.

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Wearing a bright blue graduation gown and cap, Iam performed “Don’t Let Go” by Spawnbreezie which he chose for Top 26 week in Hawaii earlier this year. He also performed the song at his massive homecoming concert at the Turtle Bay Resort. And the singer performed the song after being crowned the American Idol in May. It’s obviously a song that means a lot to him.

Hawaii TV station KITV posted a video covering the event. He joked around with the crowd before launching into the performance.

Over the weekend, Iam joined a slew of his American Idol alums in Nashville–including runner-up Megan Danielle and 2nd runner-up Colin Stough–to perform in a 19 recordings showcase on Thursday (June 8) ahead of the 2023 CMA fest. He also greeted fans at the festival’s iconic Fan Fair. He’s also been back in the studio recording new music.

First Pacific Islander to win American Idol

Eighteen year-old Iam Tongi won American Idol season 21, becoming the first Pacific Islander winner in the show’s 21 year history. He auditioned with a cover of James Blunt’s 2019 song “Monsters” and performed it with Blunt on the finale; sparked by their duet, Blunt’s “Monsters” returns to Digital Song Sales at No. 3 with 10,000 sold, up 925%. It debuted at No. 3 with 9,000 sold in March, then fueled by Iam’s audition. Iam’s audition video was a viral sensation, notching over 32 million views on Instagram and 16 million views on YouTube. 

About mj santilli 34998 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!