A Federal Way high school student Iam Tongi took home the win for the season 21 finale of “American Idol.”
The winner was determined by a live nationwide vote.
Tongi took to the stage amid cheers with “Making Memories of Us.”
He told the judges that his parents used to dance to the song when he was younger. Tongi paid tribute to his father, Rodney, who had passed away a few months before Tongi auditioned for the show.
Judge Lionel Ritchie told him, “You are an incredible storyteller. Why I am sitting here tearing up to a song I’ve heard before. You have great delivery. That what’s gonna make you shine forevermore.”
Judge Katy Perry echoed Ritchie’s thoughts.
“When you sing, I am ready to feel,” she said.
Judge Luke Bryan commented, “You have a natural gift from God to tell a story. It was just beautiful, perfection.”
Tongi currently lives in Washington state and attends Decatur High School in Federal Way., But early in the program, he said, “All of Hawaii is my home.”