There are hometown heroes, and there’s Iam Tongi.
The American Idol contestant was on home soil for Sunday night’s episode (April 16), when the top 26 delivered their goods from Hawaii.
Tongi had the audience (and judges) swaying along with his cover of Spawnbreezie’s 2011 number “Don’t Let Go”. Of course, the youngster’s family and friends made their presence felt.
Appearing relaxed and happy, the high schooler kicked back for a performance that was rootsier than a planation of coconut palms, mellower than Mr Stay Puft. And to be certain, it’s going viral on YouTube.
Tongi is the first Hawaiian to make it to his point in Idol, and he’s had to put tragedy to one side.
The teenager has overcome the recent loss of his dad, and some major technical issues, to glide into Idol’s Hollywood Week, and now Hawaii. If there’s a fan favorite in this 21st season, you’re looking at him.
Originally from Kahuka, Tongi impressed with a cover of James Blunt’s “Monsters” during the auditions round, and made his Hollywood Week one to remember with a performance of “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and then a duet with Oliver Steele on The Weeknd’s “Save Your Tears.”
Last week, he powered through Hollywood with a performance of “The Sound Of Silence” that was nothing short of “showstopping,” Katy Perry later remarked.
Watch his performance from Hawaii’s Disney Aulan below.