Iam Tongi made history on Sunday when he was named the winner of American Idol at just 18-years-old.
The student claimed the win after beating runners-up Megan Danielle and Colin Stough.
He was crowned the winner of the 21st season of the hit show after a nation-wide vote during a three-hour star-studded finale on ABC.
He performed Don’t Let Go by Spawnbreezie as his family in the audience waved their hands in the air.
So after his impressive win, here is a look Tongi’s life before appearing on the talent show.
Talented: Iam Tongi made history on Sunday when he was named the winner of American Idol at just 18-years-old
Where did Tongi grow up?
The rising star was born in Hawaii but revealed he is of Tongan and Samoan heritage.
Tongi has previously spoken about growing up in Hawaii, but said his family were forced to move to Washington’s Federal Way after they were ‘priced out of paradise’ and the local market after his father’s death.
‘We used to walk around, chasing wild chickens… You’d lose your slippers, because you’d go to a family function and someone steals your slippers.
‘So everyone’s walking around barefoot, or (wearing) one slipper and a different slipper,’ he told the Kent Reporter about life in Hawaii.
He told the publication he wants to one day move back to Hawaii and write songs that help represent his heritage.
‘It’s really cool to see all my friends, and the polys [Polynesians] supporting me,’ he said.
How old is Tongi and what does he do?
Tongi recently graduated from high school and is only 18-years-old.
As per Kauai Now News, after being selected as one of American Idol’s top three contestants, Tongi visited his birthplace on the North Shore and was given an honorary graduation from Kahuku High School, Kahuku.
Principal Donna Lindsey, an Honoka’a High School alumna from the Big Island, handed out the diploma.
The pictures were shared by the Former Hawai‘i County Council Chairwoman, Valerie Poindexter, on her Facebook handle where Lindsey can be seen handing the diploma to Iam Tongi.
Heritage: The rising star was born in Hawaii but revealed he is of Tongan and Samoan heritage
Successful: Tongi recently graduated from high school and is only 18-years-old
His music career
Tongi already has a number of connections in the music industry and was mentored by Keith Urban on the show.
During the finale, a number of major performers also hit the stage, including Kylie Minogue, Pitbull, TLC, James Blunt and Clay Aiken.
Kylie took the stage with Nutsa and performed her new song Padam Padam off her upcoming album.
Iam met with Keith and picked his hit song Making Memories of Us because it was one of his parents favorite songs.
Iam said his parents would dance to the song in the kitchen and his father used to play Keith’s songs all the time.
Iam took the stage playing his guitar and performed the song for the live studio audience.
When he was finished the crowd chanted his name and the judges gave him a standing ovation.
‘I don’t think it matters what I say,’ Katy Perry said.
‘You are an incredible story teller,’ Lionel Richie said.
‘And like Katy, I hate to say it, why am I sitting here tearing up on a song I already know but you have a great delivery.’
During the finale, he joined James Blunt on stage to sing the song Monsters after singing the song during his audition and dedicated it to his late father Rodney.
He recently said he wants to one day move back to Hawaii and write songs that help represent his heritage. ‘It’s really cool to see all my friends, and the polys [Polynesians] supporting me,’ he said
Music: Tongi already has a number of connections ahead of taking the music world by storm – and was mentored by Keith Urban on the show
Iam started crying during the emotional performance, wiping tears away from his eyes.
Katy also held a tissue to her face to wipe away her tears.
‘This is what Rodney dreamed about,’ his mother Lillie said. ‘He wanted everyone to hear what Iam had, and I feel like this is where he was meant to be.’
Iam then sang his single I’ll Be Seeing You while playing the guitar, before voting closed and Ryan revealed he was the champion.