American Idol winner Iam Tongi speaks out for first time after fans claim the show was 'rigged'
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American Idol champion Iam Tongi has spoken out for the first time since fans claimed the show was 'rigged'.
As a result, the 18-year-old, who was mentored by Keith Urban, became the youngest male winner of the competition.
However, not everyone was so enamoured by his story, and some suggested it wasn't exactly legit.
“I think the winners on American Idol are fixed," wrote one. "The people with the real talent don’t win."
Another commented: “American Idol is clearly fixed. For most of the season, they have been acting like Iam was already the winner.”
"I’m having a real hard time believing that American Idol is not rigged just a little," put a third.
Despite the backlash, though, many praised Tongi for his incredible voice.
Taking to social media, lots of fans felt that he was the deserved winner.
One viewer said: “I’m not crying. You’re crying. This amazing and very talented young man moves my very soul. His purity in spirit is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. What the world needs is more Iam Tongis.”
A second agreed and said: “Iam Tongi singing Kolohe Kai’s 'Cool Down' is the best thing I’ve seen on American Idol. Bringing those Island vibes to the world!”
While someone else said: "“What I love about Iam is he stayed consistent and authentic to himself the whole time. Humble, big hearted, talented guy from a community that is big on love and family. We are so proud.”
But now, the man himself has spoken out for the first time since he won the series.
Speaking to TV Insider, he said: "It’s amazing. I was so happy everyone voted. Thank you to everyone. Now that I’m the Idol of the 21st season, it’s crazy.
"It was amazing that I got to share that experience with the world. It’s such an amazing feeling to inspire others.
"To show that it’s not a bad thing to talk about your problems and what you go through."
When asked how he felt about being the show's first Hawaiian winner and being an inspiration to people back home, Tongi added: "I’ve always been about making my people proud, my family proud, my dad proud. My culture. It’s so cool I get to be an inspiration to other Polynesians and other people like me.
"I’m a Polynesian boy, but I love everyone."