Katy Perry Proclaims Iam Tongi the American Idol A Week Early

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

Katy Perry Proclaims Iam Tongi the American Idol A Week Early

The top 5 tackled not one, but two Disney songs on the American Idol season 21 semi-final (Read our Recap).

Sara Bareilles and Halle Bailey also stopped by with beautiful performances. Disney Week has become a tradition, and the top 5 turned in some solid performances including Season 21 fan-favorite Iam Tongi. Judge Katy Perry even declared him winner a week early after his 2nd performance.

Before tackling “Father and Son” from Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Iam sang “Lava” from the Disney film Lava. This performance was pleasant and showcased his Hawaiian heritage. In his video package, Iam performed the song to a seemingly adoring crowd at Disneyland. Whether Idol producers staged the moment or not, he still came across like a winner. Iam’s humility shined through the video package.

Iam’s second song offered him a big moment, and opportunity to honor his parents

But it was “Father and Son” that offered Iam his big moment of the night. The song choice was a bit of a stretch for Disney night as it came from Disney owned Marvel series Guardians of the Galaxy. Regardless, the song was an excellent fit for Iam’s personal backstory and voice.

In his pre-performance package, Iam tells his mom, “this song reminds me of Dad, but also reminds me about you and everything you’ve done for me.” He sings the song to his mom She loves it and says now that her husband and Iam’s father Rodney is gone, “it strikes different” when talking about him. His mom pushed Iam to sign up for Idol, even though he didn’t want to sing after his dad passed away. Iam thanks his mother “for always supporting me,” adding, “If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be top 5 right now.” The song served as both a lovely and emotional Mother’s Day dedication and a tribute to his late father.

The final line, “I know I have to go” was the ultimate emotional pleaser

The storyteller vibe that the original singer-songwriter, Cat Stevens employed fits well with Iam’s relaxed style. The song started off a bit soft, but the further he got into the performance, the more impressive he became. His vibrato is always a standout part of his voice. His vocal control is one of the unique aspects of his voice. The effort was also one of Iam’s best in terms of vocal dynamics. The final line, “I know I have to go” was the ultimate emotional pleaser.

As the performance ends, the camera cuts to Iam’s mom in the audience applauding and looking proud. The crowd chants, “Iam!” repeatedly. Lionel Richie calls the performance “magical” as “all the stars align.” Katy says “I know you are Iam, but when I see your name, I see, ‘I am the next American Idol’.” Luke thanks Iam’s mom for signing him up to audition. He also congratulated all the contestants saying, “this is our 6th season together and more people walk up to me on the street and applaud what all of you are doing.”

The standout performances of the night were “Father and Son” from Iam, the eliminated Wé Ani’s tour de force vocals on “The Climb” and “Into The Unknown,” and Colin Stough’s slow burner country take on “Nobody Knows.”

Megan Danielle, Colin Stough, and Iam Tongi make up next week’s 3 hour finale. The two singers with the strongest stage presence, Zachariah Smith and Wé, missed out on the finale, so the energy levels could be a bit low, but still the finale will showcase some solid talent.

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.