‘American Idol’ Champ Iam Tongi Explains Why He Left His Hat on During National Anthem
Iam Tongi, the 18-year-old Hawaiian singer who is American Idol's current reigning champ, performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" before the 2023 T-Mobile Home Run Derby on Monday (July 10). Though his vocal delivery of the national anthem was pitch-perfect, there was one thing several fans in the stands noticed: Tongi neglected to remove his ball cap before he began.
Afterward, Tongi hopped on Twitter to tell fans that he didn't purposely leave his hat on during his performance. Performance jitters got the best of him, and, well — he forgot all about it.
"Tens of thousands of people," he writes. "I walk out and my uncle reminds me to remove my hat before I start singing. I remember. A few seconds later the nerves took in and I didn't remember until it was all done.
"I will try to do better next time," Tongi added.
Fans seemed to understand his mistake, and many of the comments on his post were reassuring.
"You were nervous. But you did awesome. Love it," one Twitter user responded.
"Your voice resonated with so much passion and talent," another added. "Don't worry about the hat, it's a tiny blip compared to the incredible impact you made on that huge stage."
At the conclusion of his performance at the Home Run Derby, the audience's appreciative roar spoke for itself. Following his Idol win earlier this year, Tongi has kept busy with a wide variety of shows and public appearances: Recently, he performed at his own high school graduation. In mid-June, the singer also announced a tour for the summer and fall.