Iam Tongi was the winner of ‘American Idol’s’ 21st season
By Lauryn Overhultz
“American Idol” winner Iam Tongi apologized after he forgot to remove his hat while singing the national anthem.
Tongi took the field for the special moment on Monday at the 2023 MLB Home Run Derby at T-Mobile Park in Seattle. The musician won the 21st season of “American Idol” in May.
“First try at singing the National Anthem. So nervous that it was in front of such a huge crowd. And apologize for being so nervous and forgot to take off the hat,” Tongi wrote in the description of a video uploaded to YouTube.
Tongi also addressed the moment on Twitter writing, “Tens of thousands of people. I walk out and my uncle reminds me to remove my hat before I start singing. I remember. A few seconds later the nerves took in and didn’t remember until it was all done. I will try to do better next time.”
Fans shared support for Tongi in the comments, despite the snafu.
“Much respect for your response,” one user wrote. “More important is you did such an amazing job on the song itself. Great job. Congrats to your accomplishments! You deserve it all. Go get em bro.”
“You were nervous,” he added. “But you did awesome. Love it.”
“Your rendition was inspiring and beautiful. If you are worried (in the future) just have somebody grab the hat, adjust your outfit. Keep your head high!” another noted.
“That’s ok,” one user encouraged. “Nerves can get to anyone, at least you remembered the words!”
For the finals on “American Idol,” Tongi was up against Megan Danielle and Colin Stough.
Despite the competition, Tongi built a friendship with both of his fellow competitors.
“Honestly, if it wasn’t for these guys and all my family and our friends, I would… I don’t know if I would stay humble because these guys taught me every day that I’m useless — I’m just kidding,” Tongi previously told People magazine. “Honestly, we laugh a lot.”
After his win, Tongi received backlash from viewers who thought the competition was “rigged.” Many claimed the musician only won because of his “sob story.” The contestant’s father passed away in 2021 and Tongi often referenced his father and used his guitar during performances.
“A lot of people are like, ‘Colin Stough was robbed, or whatever. And I just love it,'” Tongi told DailyMail.com.
“‘I just like [the comments], whatever what they say, ’cause you know, [I gotta] let those things happen. I am guilty for liking it,” Tongi explained, referring to pressing ‘like’ on a comment via social media. “But look, [my] music’s not for everyone. And I have to learn that the hard way.’”