'American Idol' Winner Iam Tongi Jokes His Family Keeps Him Humble: 'They Don't Only Cheer for Me'
Tongi beat out fellow contestants Megan Danielle and Colin Stough on Sunday's season finale
Iam Tongi is soaking in the love.
On Sunday night, 18-year-old Tongi was crowned the season 21 American Idol. Speaking to PEOPLE after the show, he opened up about his feelings after a whirlwind season.
When asked how he planned to celebrate, he joked in true Tongi fashion that he was going to have "a couple drinks."
"No, I'm just kidding," he told PEOPLE. "What I'm gonna do when I celebrate is I'm gonna go home and just spend time with my family."
Related:American Idol Has a New Champion! Iam Tongi Wins Season 21
Throughout the season, Tongi has shown that family is everything to him. His mom watched every performance from the audience, and during his visit to his hometown of Kahuku, Oahu, he was lovingly embraced by his peers.
"It's crazy, all my Polynesian people out there just... they're always supporting, and when they come, they show out," he said. "They just cheer for everyone. Honestly, they cheer for everyone. They don't only cheer for me. My brother voted for Zachariah [Smith]!"
On Sunday night, Tongi was up against contestants Megan Danielle — who ended up being the runner-up — and Colin Stough.
And though they all had their eye on the prize this season, Tongi developed a friendship with each of them.
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"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," he said with a laugh. "Honestly, we laugh a lot."
Tongi previously brought the judges to tears during his audition when he dedicated the song "Monsters" to his father, who died months before his audition.
"I was not worried about whether you were going to make it through the song, I was worried about whether we were going to make it through the song. Your daddy is very proud," said judge Lionel Richie at the time, as Katy Perry noted, "What a fantastic song to pick. You're making these grown men cry."
"I cannot handle your heart breaking about your dad because my nephew lost his dad and he came to live with me and just seeing you missing your dad sucks. Gosh man, you've got a great voice. You did everything perfectly and I love you and want to see you have fun," added Luke Bryan.
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