Iam Tongi is enjoying the “drama” surrounding his ‘American Idol’ victory.
The 18-year-old singer won season 21 of the show earlier this week, and Iam has laughed off suggestions that the series was rigged.
He told DailyMail.com: “A lot of people are like, ‘Colin Stough was robbed’ or whatever. And I just love it.”
Iam has leaned on the advice of his late dad, Rodney – who passed away in 2021 – as he learns to deal with his critics.
He shared: “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.”
Iam has insisted there are no hard feelings between himself and Colin.
He said: “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.”
Iam became the winner of the 21st season of the show after he wowed the judges and the TV audience with his performance of ‘Don’t Let Go’ by Spawnbreezie.
He also impressed the judges with his rendition of ‘Making Memories of Us’, which he revealed is one of his parents’ favourite songs.
The performance prompted a standing ovation from the judges, and Katy Perry was visibly moved by the song.
She said: “I don’t think it matters what I say.”
Lionel Richie also heaped praise on the high school student, admitting that he was overcome with emotion.
He shared: “You are an incredible story teller. 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.”