‘American Idol’ Castoff Caleb Kennedy Releases New Song ‘Raised on Dirt’

Caleb Kennedy Exit

Disney/ABC Caleb Kennedy

Caleb Kennedy was a top-five contestant on season 19 of ABC’s “American Idol” in early 2021. The then 16-year-old singer-songwriter pulled himself from the show following a video surfacing that showed him sitting with someone who was wearing a KKK-style hood, according to TMZ. His mother told the Herald-Journal in May 2021 that the video was taken when Kennedy was 12 years old.

After he left the show, Kennedy took to social media to apologize to fans.

“Hey y’all, this gonna be a bit of a surprise, but I am no longer gonna be on ‘American Idol,’” he wrote on May 12. “There was a video that surfaced on the internet and it displayed actions that were not to be taken in that way.”

Kennedy recorded a song while he was on ‘American Idol,’ but it wasn’t released at the same time as the other contestants. Now, he released the song for his fans.


Listen to Kennedy’s ‘Raised on Dirt’


VideoVideo related to ‘american idol’ castoff caleb kennedy releases new song ‘raised on dirt’2021-09-16T10:29:19-04:00

The new track was released on Saturday, September 11, 2021.

“It’s where I took my first breath / And it’s where I’ll take my last / Raised On Dirt / Baptized in the rain / For what it’s worth,” Kennedy sings in the song.

“Raised on Dirt” was written by Kennedy in conjunction with Mason Douglas Horn during his time on “American Idol.”

Comments have been disabled on the YouTube video, which has received 5,300 views at the time of writing.


Kennedy Says ‘American Idol’ Was Not What He Wanted

In an interview with the Herald-Journal published June 24, 2021, Kennedy talked about his “American Idol” journey and opened up about the pressure he felt.

“You think it’s all going to be fun, and a lot of it is, but it will slap you in the face really quickly,” Kennedy told the outlet. “I wasn’t ready for it.”

He also shared that he felt there is no real way to prepare for going on “American Idol.”

“There’s no way to emotionally prepare for Idol,” he said. “Because no one is ready for it, no matter how you prepare. But I don’t regret it, and I did love it.”

He also said that he changed to be on “American Idol.”

“On Idol, that wasn’t me,” he shared. “That world is so different. Now that I’m home, I try to be me, but I’m also scared of someone videoing me when I go to Academy or Wal-Mart. You have to worry about things like that now.”

According to USA Today, the “American Idol” judges were asked about Kennedy in a question-and-answer session following the live show that aired after Kennedy’s exit.

“First and foremost, as judges and as a judges’ panel, we love these kids, and we get emotionally involved,” Luke Bryan said. “We wish nothing but the best for Caleb, and it does make for a very, very challenging and upsetting week.”

Lionel Richie also spoke about the exit, saying that he hopes Kennedy will learn from everything that happened.

“We grow up, and we make mistakes, and we look at our lives behind us many, many times and we say, ‘God, what was I thinking about when I did that?’ It’s one of those situations,” he shared.

READ NEXT: WATCH: Gabby Barrett’s Original ‘American Idol’ Audition


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