‘American Idol’ Winner Iam Tongi Tributes His Late Father With Cover of Garth Brooks’ ‘The Dance’
Iam Tongi always has his late father in mind when he sings "The Dance," and this emotional acoustic cover is no different. The American Idol winner dropped video of his in-studio performance on Friday (Dec. 1).
The 19-year-old shares that Garth Brooks' "The Dance" is one of the first songs he learned to play, and it was his dad who urged him. In fact, there's video of the two harmonizing the ballad together.
Tongi seems to be recalling those happy days as he closes his eyes to deliver.
- Iam Tongi's father Rodney died of kidney failure in Dec. 2021, just months before Tongi auditioned for American Idol.
- The Hawaii native won Season 21 of Idol in 2023.
- He's released several singles in the months since winning.
In addition to the new video, Tongi's cover of "The Dance" is available on digital streaming platforms.
Brooks recorded "The Dance" in late 1988 and released it on his self-titled debut album one year later. The song is covered frequently — a quick search finds contemporary versions from artists like Luke Combs, Koe Wetzel, Kelly Clarkson and more. You'll struggle to find high quality versions of Brooks singing the song on YouTube, however, as he doesn't allow his music to stream anywhere but Amazon.
When Tongi won American Idol, he was one of the youngest ever to do so. This cover and more — like a take on Morgan Wallen's "Sand in My Boots"— all seem to have come from one day in studio earlier this year.
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Gallery Credit: Sterling Whitaker