American Idol fans have slammed the results of the show calling it "rigged" after Iam Tongi was crowned the winner in Sunday's star-studded finale. The 18-year-old high school student from Kahuku, Hawaii, beat Megan Danielle and Colin Stough, the show's two finalists, but the result of the show left the viewers split.
Many believed that the result was "rigged" and Colin Stough, the runner-up of the show, was a far better and superior singer. Many viewers were so upset that they took to social media to express their grievances, with many even claiming that Tongi won because of his strong music connections.
Allegations Marr American Idol
Following a lengthy, three-hour finale, the final three contestants, Megan Danielle, Colin Stough, and Iam Tongi, each sang a number of songs as they sought the crucial final votes to win the contest.
Tongi's performances included his own versions of Keith Urban's Making Memories of Us, the island-inspired Cool Down, and an emotional duet of James Blunt's Don't Let Go that drove the entire audience to tears.
Tongi sang his debut song, I'll Be Seeing You, a particular homage to his late father as part of his final performance.
Stough was eliminated almost halfway through the contest, leaving only Danielle and Tongi.
After a moment of tension, Tongi was announced the new American Idol. He was overtaken with emotion as he was hugged by the host Ryan Seacrest, the runner-up Danielle, and his loved ones.
He said that despite his overnight fame, the thing that he was most excited about after the end of this season of American Idol was that he was finally "going back home" to Hawaii.
However, as the 18-year-old celebrated his historic victory on stage with loved ones, enraged supporters took to social media to express their disgust, calling the results "fixed."
"American Idol is rigged. Colin Stough was the best one out there," one person blasted. "American Idol, I thought it was about talent."
Another fan claimed Tongi won on voter's sympathy rather for of his talent: "Obviously the sympathy vote fix is in," the user wrote.
"I'm so over this rigged American Idol," wrote yet another user who was frustrated with the results.
Social Media Outrage
The outrage continued for hours. Another fan was so upset with the result that he tagged host Ryan Seacrest and asked: "So Ryan I thought #AmericanIdol was a singing contest? Any reason why the obviously better singer did not win? Curious...just asking. Thank you."
"Y'all really voted Iam? Couldn't be me...... #Awful," another fan wrote venting his anger.
Tongi was born in Hawaii but has Tongan and Samoan ancestry. Tongi launched a track called "Dreams" in November 2020 and already has a number of contacts in the music industry.
Australian country music singer Keith Urban served as Tongi's coach on the show.
Other viewers expressed their happiness for Tongi although many claimed that he won because of his contacts in the music industry.
"Congrats to Iam Tongi the winner of American Idol 2023!" wrote one fan.
Another wrote: "Iam Tongi turned American Idol into his Show!"
Earlier in the show, judge Katy Perry broke down in tears, gushing over Tongi's finale performance.
The governor of Hawaii, Josh Green, posted a photo of himself with Tongi. "Congratulations to Hawaii's own American Idol, Iam Tongi!" he wrote.
Tongi is a Mormon and has publicly expressed his beliefs on social media. He belongs to the Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The performer even posted a video of himself and other American Idol finalists singing a Mormon hymn on his Facebook page.
Many others also expressed their disapproval of this year's judging panel, which included Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan, on social media.
Some people even pleaded for changes in the upcoming season. "Of course, I just thought it was so refreshing to have Alanis [Morissette] and Ed [Sheeran] on last week," one person wrote.
"I just feel like the 3 we have now have said all they are going to say... gets repetitive."
Another viewer of the show wrote: "Make Alanis a permanent judge. She radiates joy and gives honest sensible feedback."
Earlier this month, before being crowned the winner of American Idol, Tongi was presented with a custom-made guitar by musician Sam Mangakahia that embodies his love of music and Polynesian heritage.
"The blue represents [Iam's] connection to Polynesia, the ocean,'Mangakahia said, according to KITV Island News.
"And then the middle design represents the Samoan and Tongan heritage. And then the outer layer represents who he is and who he looks up to," he added, referring to Tongi's late father.
Tongi had previously talked about growing up in Hawaii, but he also said that after his father's death, his family was "priced out of paradise" and the local market, forcing them to relocate to Washington's Federal Way.