Iam Tongi ‘Loves’ Accusations that American Idol ‘Rigged’ His Win

American Idol 2023 - IAM TONGI
(ABC/Eric McCandless) IAM TONGI

American Idol winner Iam Tongi enjoys the “drama” of “rigging” accusations

The UK Daily Mail which has spent all season writing American Idol outrage stories interviewed American Idol winner Iam Tongi earlier this week. Unsurprisingly the first question the outlet asked Iam concerned the manufactured “controversy” over fans “accusing” the show of “rigging” the win for him.

And at 18 years old, the boy is pretty wise, as he tunes out the noise. Iam told the Mail that he actually enjoys the “drama” of “rigging” accusations surrounding his win. “A lot of people are like, Colin Stough was robbed,’ or whatever. And I just love it,” he said. (The Mail identified Colin as the runner up. But fact check: He finished 3rd behind runner-up Megan Danielle).

“My dad always told me that your music’s not meant for everyone. There’s going to be people that are not going to like it and that’s OK, that’s normal,” he explained. “Everyone gets their own opinion. Everyone gets to think what they think. So, it’s fine.”

“I love Colin man, he’s such a kind guy”

‘I love Colin man, he’s such a kind guy. I’m going to see him again, we are going to jam out again and have fun,’ he told the Mail.  ‘But yeah … it makes me happy to see that people love other styles of music as much as I do. ‘They love Colin that much [that they say], ‘He should have won.’ And that makes me happy, to be honest.’

‘I love [my] community coming out and supporting me and showing up [for me], and I’m not going to really chase after fans,’ he explained.  ‘I’m going to be myself and do what I love and just have fun while I’m doing it and see whatever happens, happens.’

Every year a contestant wins American Idol and every year fans of singers who DIDN’T win the show dispense myriad reasons why their favorite came up short. Invested fans of contestants who DIDN’T win have accused the show of “rigging” ever since Ruben Studdard squeaked out a win past Clay Aiken 20 years ago.

According to the Mail, some fans believe the show milked Iam’s backstory about the passing of his beloved father months before his audition. But actually, Iam’s touching audition performance of “Monster” went instantly viral. Fans connected to him without any manipulation from Idol producers. Fans yelling “rigged” are usually a very loud minority who are easy to exploit. Easiest clickbait in the world is to cherry pick a bunch of angry social media posts and claim there’s some huge backlash happening.

Iam is a Katy Perry fan

The Mail also attempts to bait Iam into dissing Katy Perry, who the press has made the center of a tabloid fueled outrage cycle. A recent report from the Mail claims that Katy wants to leave American Idol because she feels like producers have “thrown her under the bus.” and have purposely edited her to look “nasty.”

Iam appreciated Katy’s feedback and hope she stays on as a judge.

“[All the judges] are so fun and we had a lot of fun with them while I was on ‘Idol,’” he said. “The support [Katy] gives and the love [she] gives to the contestants would be missed. I would miss Katy [if she left].”

Other than a couple of instances of fans having an issue with her, it’s been the press claiming Katy’s antics were causing widespread outrage. Curiously, the behavior sparking the backlash has remained consistent over the six years she has served as judge. She’s wacky. She sticks her foot in her mouth sometimes. She can be loud and kind of annoying. And again, it’s fans who think the judges are slighting their favorite–a phenomenon that has been going on in American Idol fandom for years. Old school fans tend to wax poetic over the OG panel–Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. But I could go back through our archives and find times they sparked backlash–both real and manufactured.

A more substantive interview with Iam comes from NPR. The 18 year old singer shares about being the first Pacific Islander to win the show, and what that means to him. He also talks about how his dad and mom influenced him as a singer and an artist.

Watch Oliver Steele gift Iam Tongi with a brand new guitar

And for content that is 100 percent wholesome, check out Top 8 contestant Oliver Steele surprising Iam with a brand new Breedlove guitar. He writes on Instagram, “Throughout this incredible ride I’ve been on, @wtongi has not only been a friend; he’s been a brother, a light of positivity and a force of love. He has impacted me and my family more so than anyone else I’ve met on this journey. Originally, I wanted to get him a Ukulele, which the lovely folks at @breedloveguitar make! However, they were out of stock! To my surprise, my sponsor got in touch with me and said ‘let’s give him a guitar instead! In fact, let’s give him an all Koa wood guitar!!'”

“And so what you see is a video of me gifting Iam his brand new breedlove guitar!! Thank you to my sponsor @breedloveguitar for being so generous, for giving me a chance, and for helping me to honor the newfound brotherhood between me and my Tokoua!!! Enjoy it bro!!! You deserve it!! Ofa Atu, Tokoua!!!”

About mj santilli 34980 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, 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!