Hawaiian-born high schooler wins 2023 American Idol

18-year-old Iam Tongi was crowned the winner in the American Idol music competition after beating out the other two finalists, Megan Danielle and Colin Stough. Tongi, a high school senior originally from Hawai'i, sang "I'll Be Seeing You" for the live finale, in honor of his dad Rodney who passed away.

USA Today:

"My dad, he wasn't a perfect dude," Iam told the Kent Reporter. "He wasn't like a saint, or whatever. But he was the best father that I know. And I want everyone to know that he's a tough guy. He always told me the truth, (and) he always loved me. And I always loved him too."

The first non-country winner in three years, Tongi won the $250,000 prize and a recording contract with Hollywood Records/19 Recordings. Tongi is also the first Hawaiian-born Pacific Islander to win Idol.