It’s Hollywood Week on American Idol, and Iam Tongi and Oliver Steele delivered a duet that had all the makings of a LaLa Land special — drama, struggle, tears and success.
At the top, Tongi’s six-string failed and required needed attention. An internal pre-amp, kaput. Like many guitarists, Tongi has an attachment to this particular instrument. It was a gift from his late father, Rodney, who died a few months before the season premiere of Idol. So, swapping it out isn’t so easy at this stage in the competition. Drama, struggle.
Problem put to one side, another to confront.
Tongi was fretting about duetting with a new partner, working harmonies he used to sing with his dad. Fortunately, Steele is also in the “powerhouse” class, according to Katy Perry.
Then, the tears flowed. Tongi recounted how his dad spent his holiday paycheck on the guitar, at a time when money was tight. He wanted it along for each and every musical ride.
Luke Bryan promised that the good people at Idol would get it fixed, pronto.
And off the pair went, delivering a warm and fuzzy rendition of The Weeknd’s “Save Your Tears,” dedicated to their respective fathers. Bigtime success.
Earlier, Tongi, the teenage highschooler, originally from Kahuka, Hawaii, impressed with his touching performance of James Blunt’s “Monsters” during the auditions round, and made many more friends with his Hollywood Week performance of “I Can’t Make You Love Me”.
Steele, a 25-year-old from Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, is also doing it for his dad, a professional blues guitarist and singer-songwriter who suffered a stroke. He had the honor of being the final audition of ABC’s Season 21, which he smashed out the park with his performance of Eric Clapton’s “Change The World,” and, during Hollywood Week, a cover of Chris Stapleton’s “Broken Halos.”
Watch the Hollywood Week duet below.