Iam Tongi auditioned with the emotional James Blunt song "Monsters," which he dedicated to his late father
Newly crowned American Idol winner Iam Tongi has made it a point to pay tribute to his late father Rodney during his time on the show — and on Sunday night's finale, he did so with the help of James Blunt.
Tongi, 18, auditioned for Idol with Blunt's song "Monsters," and just before he was named the winner, Tongi teamed up with the British singer for an emotional duet of the 2019 track.
Blunt, 49, stepped in with a comforting hand on Tongi's shoulder as the two performed together, and the pair ended the song with a hug.
"Monsters" was written for Blunt's father Charles, who at the time was battling stage four chronic kidney disease and was awaiting a donor. The star later said that Charles underwent a successful kidney transplant in 2020.
Tongi, meanwhile, lost his dad just months before his Idol audition. During his first time before the judging panel, the teen explained that it was his father who had gotten him into music as a child, and he dedicated his audition to Rodney.
"I was not worried about whether you were going to make it through the song, I was worried about whether we were going to make it through the song. Your daddy is very proud," said judge Lionel Richie at the time, as Perry noted, "What a fantastic song to pick. You're making these grown men cry."
Tongi — who beat out fellow contestants Megan Danielle and Colin Stough — also sang his new single "I'll Be Seeing You" on finale night, which he also dedicated to his dad.
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