'American Idol': Luke Bryan Weeps After Singer's Audition Dedicated to Late Father
Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie were crying like babies after 18-year-old Iam Tongi as the aspiring artist delivered an emotional tribute to his late father to the Season 21 premiere of American Idol. Tongi himself got emotional as he introduced himself to Bryan, Richie and Katy Perry during his audition, revealing his father was the one who taught him everything he knows about music.
"My dad passed away a couple months ago," Tongi then revealed, getting choked up before recovering and launching into his cover of James Blunt's 2019 song, "Monsters," which Blunt wrote as a tribute to his own father, who has Stage 4 kidney disease. "I'm not your son, you're not my father / We're just two grown men saying goodbye / No need to forgive, no need to forget / I know your mistakes and you know mine / And while you're sleeping I'll try to make you proud / So, daddy, won't you just close your eyes? / Don't be afraid, it's my turn / To chase the monsters away," Tongi sang in the chorus as the judges were visibly moved.
Bryan especially could be seen reaching for a tissue as he was impacted by Tongi's performance, which earned a standing ovation at its close. Richie told Tongi, "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's very proud," telling him to take his talent into the world to "fracture some souls." Perry added, "I mean, what a fantastic song to pick – I feel like you could've written this song. I mean, you sang it, you delivered it, and you're making these grown men cry. You hit a nerve and that's what great storytellers do. That's what great artists do, and your voice is just so magnificent."
When it came to Bryan's turn, the "Country On" artist revealed the special connection he had to Tongi's performance, as he had taken in his nephew after the loss of his father. "I cannot handle your heart breaking about your Dad because my nephew lost his dad and he came to live with me and to see you missing your dad just sucks," Bryan said as tears could be seen rolling down his cheek. "And gosh man, you got a great voice ... you just did everything perfect and I love ya. ... It's just awesome. Awesome that you just did to me and you're 18 years old." American Idol airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.0comments