Photo by Bruce Honda.
Iam Tongi sings “Courage” during the March 21 Federal Way City Council Meeting.

Photo by Bruce Honda. Iam Tongi sings “Courage” during the March 21 Federal Way City Council Meeting.

Will Iam Tongi win it all? Federal Way student competes in ‘Idol’ grand finale

Final episode of ‘American Idol’ Sunday, May 21 for local singer, guitarist from Decatur High School

After months of performances, flights and fitting schoolwork in-between, the journey is nearly complete for Federal Way’s Iam Tongi.

From a crowd of competitors that started in the thousands last year, the Decatur High School student has now made it to the Top 3 of this year’s “American Idol” competitors.

All that’s left is the 2023 grand finale, live at 5 p.m. Sunday, May 21 on ABC (KOMO).

Tongi, who was born and raised in Kahuku, Oahu, secured his spot on May 14, with a performance of “Lava,” a song featured in a Pixar short of the same name. The song details the story of Uku, a fictional, anthropomorphic volcano who falls in love with another volcano called Lele. He also performed “Father and Son” by Yusuf / Cat Stevens.

In a video posted to his Facebook page, Tongi also thanked Federal Way and Seattle for “taking me in as one of their own, and opening doors for me, giving me so many opportunities.”

As with the previous several weeks, audience voting will determine Tongi’s fate. For more information on how to vote, visit https://idolvote.abc.com.

Talk to us

Are you an “American Idol” fan, a parent or student at Decatur, a member of the Polynesian community, or anyone else touched by Iam Tongi’s appearances on “American Idol?”

We’d like to know what his performances mean for you, in terms of cultural representation, musicianship, or anything else. Email alex.bruell@soundpublishing.com to share your stories or thoughts on the rising musician.




Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Life

t
Healthy Kids Day free event coming up April 20 at Kent YMCA

Activities to include face painting, bounce house and dodgeball

t
City of Kent offers space festival for families May 4 at ShoWare Center

Retired astronaut Jose M. Hernandez to speak at event

t
t
City to begin major renovations at Kent Commons Community Center

Work on $1.5 million project to start soon to upgrade recreation facility

Comic book collection is still a staple of Emerald City Comic Con. Photo by Bailey Jo Josie/Sound Publishing.
Fandoms converge at Emerald City Comic Con

Even with big names at this year’s con, locals brought the good vibes to the nerdy weekend.

t
Spring is near as nesting eagles return to Riverbend in Kent

Eagles can be spotted near Riverbend Golf Complex and along the Green River and Interurban Trail

t
Kent YMCA to offer free Community Day on Saturday, Feb. 24

Facility will be open noon to 3 p.m. to all for swim, gym and other activities

Voiceover actor Kat Cressida will visit Auburn at Unlock the Con on Feb. 17-18 for meet and greets, an exclusive dinner with a Q&A panel and a Sunday “Brunch with the Bride.” (Courtesy photo)
Disney voice actor Kat Cressida to host meet and greet in Auburn

Tickets are available for this two-day fandom event at the Outlet Collection’s Unlock the Con on Feb. 17 and 18.

t
Performers wanted for return of ‘Kent Has Talent’ show

Registration starts Feb. 1; auditions March 23-24; show set for May 23

t
Cider & Ale Trail coming to historic downtown Kent March 8

Event to feature cideries, breweries, distilleries from Washington and Oregon

Construction at the Snoqualmie Casino. CAMERON SIRES, Sound Publishing
Snoqualmie Casino expansion inches closer to completion

Convention space, ballroom and 210-room hotel to be completed by 2025