Iam Tongi, the beloved Hawaiian high schooler who was dubbed winner of the 21st season of “American Idol,” is apologizing for wearing a hat during a recent performance of the “National Anthem.”
The 18-year-old from Kahuku, Hawaii, took to Seattle Mariner’s T-Mobile Field to belt out the American tune on July 11 for the MLB’s 2023 All-Star Home Run Derby.
However, as the crowd rose to their feet and players removed their caps to pay their respects to the United States during the song, Tongi neglected to follow suit.
“Tens of thousands of people. 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 didn’t remember until it was all done,” he wrote on Twitter.
Accompanied by a video of his voice soaring for the massive crowd, Tongi pledged to “try to do better next time.”
On Instagram, the teen shared a video with a behind-the-scenes look at the people filling Seattle’s historic stadium, as well as a close-up of the field.
“First time singing the National Anthem and it was nerve wrecking that the nerves took over and I forgot to take my cap off. So sorry guys. Biggest crowd yet!” he wrote, accompanied by the hashtags #yessah and #unitedstatesofamerica.
Social media users encouraged Tongi in response to his apology and video, impressed with the patriotic performance despite the hat mishap.
“Brah your performance was absolutely patriotic and inspiring. Your voice resonated with so much passion and talent,” one person tweeted. “Don’t worry about the hat, it’s a tiny blip compared to the incredible impact you made on that huge stage.”
Another wrote, “You were awesome young man. For some reason every time I hear you sing I get emotional. So proud of you. We voted for you every round I know you will learn to remove your hat. Much success.”
After capturing the country’s heart over the past several months, Tongi took home his emotional “American Idol” win last month and, once again, wowed judges with an acoustic performance.
During the show’s season finale May 21, Tongi dedicated his original song “I’ll Be Seeing You” to his late father, singing of his dad’s laughter living on in his memory and the loneliness he’s felt since the passing.
“This one’s for you, dad. ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’ is out now. It’s been such a special process making this song, and it really took a village to make it happen,” he wrote on Instagram. “Thank you to everyone involved, and everyone who has shown me support. I see you showing love and it means the world to me.”
This article was originally published on TODAY.com