American Idol is in the midst of Hollywood Week! During this round of competition, each competitor has already performed their solo audition in front of the judges in their respective cities, then performs solo in Hollywood before advancing to the group round.
Iam Tongi wowed the judges in the first round with his rendition of “Monsters” by James Blunt. He also told a heartbreaking story about his father’s passing. His dad bought him the guitar he plays, and always harmonized with Iam, so performing without his dad was something new for him.
Oliver Steele had a similarly emotional audition and dad connection. His father also inspired him to play music, but after suffering a debilitating stroke, his dad was unable to play guitar anymore.
Both singers are incredibly talented, but having their emotional stories made their music that much better. Their solo Hollywood rounds were equally as impressive.
Iam performed “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” while Oliver sang “Broken Halos.”
For the group round, the two singers joined forces for a haunting rendition of The Weeknd’s “Save Your Tears.” Right before they were supposed to take the stage, something in Iam’s guitar broke and the Idol crew was unable to fix it in time for him to perform. They switched out his guitar, but he was visibly emotional about not performing with the guitar that his late father bought for him many years ago.
Iam and Oliver walked on stage, but the judges could tell something was off with Iam, who broke down in tears over not having his guitar with him. Oliver reminded Iam that the talent is Iam, not his guitar. Oliver also said, “I’m here,” reassuring iam that he was not alone.
They dove into their performance, which left the judges in awe. The harmonies were buttery smooth and just by the judges’ faces, you could tell these two were going on to the next round.
Watch their performance below.