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American Idol's Iam Tongi Addresses Controversy Over His 'Rigged' Win!

American Idol’s Iam Tongi Addresses Drama Over His Win: ‘I Just Love It’

Iam Tongi is addressing all the controversy over his American Idol win.

If you keep up with the reality TV singing competition, you probably know that season 21 just wrapped, crowning the 18-year-old Hawaii native victorious. However, America wasn’t exactly on the same page when it came to their response…

Related: Katy Perry Got The King & Queen To Do An Awkward Idol Cameo After Coronation!

We reported Monday that following Iam’s win, fans of the show were pretty split down the middle. Many took to Twitter to share their support, but some others did quite the opposite, claiming the results were “rigged” in his favor as a “sympathy vote,” sharing that fellow contestant Colin Stough was actually more deserving:

American Idol is rigged. Colin Stough was the best one out there.”

“Obviously the sympathy vote fix is in”

“So Ryan I thought #AmericanIdol was a singing contest? Any reason why the obviously better singer did not win? Curious…just asking. Thank you.”

Now, the victor is addressing his contested win head on. In a Thursday interview with, the vocalist shared that he actually has a guilty “love” for all the drama:

“A lot of people are like, ‘Colin Stough was robbed,’ or whatever. And I just love it.”

He cited his late father, Rodney Tongi, prepared him for this sort of feedback before his passing in 2021:

“A lot of people are like, ‘Colin Stough was robbed,’ or whatever. And I just love it. My dad always told me that your music’s not meant for everyone. There’s going to be people that are not going to like it and that’s OK, that’s normal. Everyone gets their own opinion. Everyone gets to think what they think. So, it’s fine.”

Wise words! Love him or hate him, he still took the win, so he can’t be THAT down.

Related: ‘Super Embarrassed’ Idol Winner Back To Singing In The Subway

When it comes to navigating online trolls, though, Iam has lots of love to go around:

“I just like whatever what they say, ’cause you know, [I gotta] let those things happen.”

He added of the backlash:

“I am guilty for liking it. But look, [my] music’s not for everyone. And I have to learn that the hard way.”

It sounds like he’s doing a pretty decent job coming to terms with that! As for how he feels about the overwhelming support for Colin at his own expense, the champ shared:

“I love Colin man, he’s such a kind guy. I’m going to see him again, we are going to jam out again and have fun. But yeah … it makes me happy to see that people love other styles of music as much as I do. They love Colin that much [that they say], ‘He should have won.’ And that makes me happy, to be honest.”

Wow! That’s an extremely mature way to look at things! Iam also shared that he doesn’t plan to “chase after” the support of haters, but will instead focus on his established fans:

“I love [my] community coming out and supporting me and showing up [for me], and I’m not going to really chase after fans. I’m going to be myself and do what I love and just have fun while I’m doing it and see whatever happens, happens.”

Whew, this is definitely the most dramatic Idol season we’ve seen in a while! Speaking of which, judge Katy Perry is rumored to want to quit the show after she felt “thrown under the bus by producers,” who she thinks edited her feedback to look “nasty.” However, Iam holds a lot of love for her, and would “miss” her if she left:

“[All the judges] are so fun and we had a lot of fun with them while I was on Idol. The support [Katy] gives and the love [she] gives to the contestants would be missed. I would miss Katy [if she left].”

What do YOU think of all of Iam’s comments, Perezcious readers? Sound OFF in the comments down below!

[Images via ABC/YouTube]

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May 26, 2023 10:12am PDT